WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Notices have now been mailed to every Putnam County resident affected by the ongoing 911 address changes, and every voicemail left by concerned residents should be answered within the next month, according to 911 officials.
Jason Owens, deputy director of the Putnam County Office of Emergency Management, said his agency has received a vast number of phone calls since the first address change notices were mailed to residents of Leon, Buffalo and Culloden in September. He said the center had 63 missed calls Wednesday morning, 97 more on Tuesday and 103 on Monday.
"With the first round, it took me about two weeks to get back to everyone, because that was before I had any help. It took me about an hour and a half every morning just to write down messages," Owens said.
The center has since employed a second person to help sort through the calls, and Owens said the largest areas affected by the change, including Winfield, Scott Depot and Poca, were notified in mid-December, and the parts of Hurricane that will be impacted received their letters last week.
The change is the result of an ordinance adopted in 2003 by the Putnam County Commission to align the county with state policy meant to standardize addresses. The new system will generate a potential 1,000 addresses to be assigned for every 10.56 feet along a road to allow for future growth and change in neighborhoods and other areas, Owens said, which is why two neighboring houses may not have similar numbers.
There are more than 27,000 residences in the county, but residences in Hurricane and Winfield city limits were largely exempted from the change. After residents of Joy Lane and Cleveland Drive in Culloden complained to the county commission, the board added a clause to the policy that would allow subdivisions with a reasonable addressing system to remain unchanged.
The Culloden subdivision still did not meet the standards for exemption, but Owens said he re-examined areas in Poca, Scott Depot and the Winfield and Hurricane zip codes and was able to exempt several more subdivisions from the change.
"When they reworded the ordinance, I was able to exempt a lot, which eliminated a lot of hassle," Owens said.