What’s In A Road Name Change? Not Public Input, Resident Says
By Mike Perleberg
(Moores Hill, Ind.) – Some Dearborn County residents are upset that they received without warning a short notice that the road they live on will have its name changed.
Dearborn County Commissioner Shane McHenry says the decision was made by Dearborn County Planning & Zoning to change the name of part of West County Line Road in the Moores Hill area. Also, some portions of Lake Dilldeer Road may also be renamed.
The change, McHenry says, may be necessary in order to avoid confusion for Dearborn County’s emergency dispatch center and first responders in locating addresses on roads which have multiple sections that do not connect. Segments of County Line Road extend from Interstate 74 in the northern reaches of the county to U.S. 50 near Dillsboro.
According to the commissioner, the planning department had taken the road name changes upon itself following complaints from the dispatch center. Those complaints centered around experiences where police or firefighters wasted valuable time responding to emergencies because they had taken the wrong road, albeit with the right name.
West County Line Road resident Tammy Wismann says residents – approximately 80 of which are affected – recently received a surprise in their mailbox. A certified letter informing them they had two weeks before the road change took effect. The public should have been included in the decision process, she claims.
“I feel, as many others do, that the first step in this process should have been to let the people know that their road name may change and to provide them with a logical reason why it needs to be changed, who is determining the changes to be made, and at what cost these changes will be to the county and to the citizens themselves,” Wismann wrote in an email.
Wismann placed a number of phone calls and sent emails to local government offices in an attempt to understand why the change, which she opposes, was being made. However, she claims she only got the run around.
“This change was not necessary, with no one owning up to making this decision and with no good logical reason why it was made. The current process failed our county government and our citizens,” she said.
McHenry said county commissioners did not learn of the road name changes until after complaints began flowing in. After meeting with Planning & Zoning, the dispatch center, and Dearborn County Highway Department, he agrees with Wismann.
“This is not how government should be run,” said McHenry. “There’s a lot that needs to be looked at in this situation.”
Typically, Dearborn County Planning & Zoning is one of the county’s best departments in providing information to the public. Many documents and meeting updates are posted on the department’s webpage and Facebook page. This situation seems to be the exception, however, turning into a headache for many residents. Wismann says while she and others are fighting the change, others have already started updating their address information with employers, bills, banks, family, friends, and others.
“I am making a plea for the citizens who have already made address changes to be willing to change them back and save them the cost of changing their driver’s license or their Indiana State Identification cards,” she wrote.
Since writing her letter, Wismann said she has spoken with both McHenry and fellow commissioner Kevin Lynch. She said both commissioners agreed the public should have been notified prior to the decision.
Dearborn County Commissioners will try to take control of the situation at their next meeting on Tuesday, February 4. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Dearborn County Administration Building, 215B West High Street, in Lawrenceburg.
We are very happy our road name will remain the same. After having the same address for 27 years it was quite a shock to get a letter informing us our address would be changed in 2 weeks - no warning, no input, no choices. Thank you Tammy for going door to door getting your neighbors input and speaking for those of us that were unable to make the meeting. Thank you commissioners for doing the right thing and keeping West County Line Road the same.
I would also like to personally thank the Dearborn County Commissioners for taking the time to listen to us, the community. And being at the meeting today, I saw a county government that apologized from the beginning of the meeting stood up and took responsibility for the error. Yesterday I was a little worried about our county government to be honest, but today I have a renewed faith in our elected officials.
Shane I want to personally thank you, I know that from the moment that Tammy called you, you said you would look into this and that is exactly what you did. Most of the resident and I appreciate the fact that you took the time and figured out what happened, and that you are going to make sure that this doesn't happen to anyone else. I am part of a family that has lived on W. Co. Line since the 1960's, my best childhood memories were on a farm on W. Co. Line Rd.
With that being said THANK YOU !
I would like to personally thank all the Citizens of our community for helping in the fight to keep West County Line Road the same name. With success we were able to keep it the same name, like it has been for many years. I would also like to thank the Dearborn County Commissioners for listening to our concerns and making the decision to keep it West County Line Road, especially Shane since it was his district, taking interest in finding out what went wrong and his motion to keep it the same. I would also like to thank the county government to owning up to the mistakes that took place in this matter and that they are willing to change the process in the on changing road names.
We greatly appreciate your decision and help in this matter. Sincerely Tammy Wismann
What makes me worry is, if this can happen to the many residents on W. Co. Line Rd., without going through the proper channels, and for what I can see NO GOOD REASON. it could happen to any of us. Is this how our elected official's operate ? I have ties to W Co. Line and do not want to see the name changed either. I was also one who went door to door and most of the residents do not want the name changed, are not happy about the way it was handled. We will be at the meeting tomorrow morning and hopefully we have a voice in this matter. Public invited
Tomorrow's Commissioners meeting is at the Lawrenceburg Library at the Depot section, enter by the railroad. It is 8:30 a.m. instead of at the Administration Building. Tammy Wismann
After going door to door this weekend many residents have started making the change but everyone was willing to make the change back and were not happy with the change in the first place. We went from one end of West County Line Road to the other with a petition about the change on only 1 person said they would be mad if it were to change back and that was on the part that will be called Barkley Road. There were only 4 that said they did not care one way or the other with 2 signing the petition to keep it West County Line Road and 2 not wanting to sign the petition. Everyone else except for the people we did not find home were upset that it was going to change to Noel and to Barkley Road and did not want it to change. Tammy Wismann