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City residents encouraged to properly display house numbers

February 1, 2011

According to City of St. Marys Police Department Chief Todd Caltagarone, the city ordinance requires buildings to have numbers displayed that are at least three inches high able to be clearly visible from the road. Photo by Becky Polaski.

St. Marys resident Elizabeth Friedl recently brought to city council's attention the lack of house numbers on many residences throughout the city.
Appearing at a city council meeting in January, Friedl presented council members with a hypothetical situation regarding a potential emergency at a residence that does not have its house number properly displayed.
"Can you imagine a police officer going out to serve a warrant or possibly going out on a domestic disturbance and they tell him, 'Well, it's that yellow house.' Now you've got three or four yellow houses. It's a domestic situation, it's an emergency. So which yellow house does he go to? You ride around and you look at all of the homes that do not have numbers. It really becomes an emergency situation when some of these people have to go and look," Friedl said.
When asked about the issue following the meeting, City Manager Dave Greene acknowledged that a number of city residents do not properly have their house numbers displayed on their residences or mailboxes, which is a violation of city requirements.
According to the city's requirements for the display of address numbers, it is stated that "it shall be the responsibility of each and every property owner, trustee, lessee, agent and occupant of each residence, apartment building, business or industry to purchase, post and maintain address numbers as required under this policy at all times."
Greene explained that while the city does not currently plan to impose any fines for individuals not displaying house numbers, it is in people's own best interests to comply with the law.
"The ambulance, police and fire departments need to be able to locate your home when you call for an emergency, and sometimes you might not be in a position where you can give them directions or stand outside waiting," Greene said. "When that happens and they're trying to find your house, it's going to delay the response time in which they're going to be able to get there to help you."
Greene added that residents also should place their house number on their mailbox if their home is located a significant distance from the roadway.
"It's the law and we'd like you to comply with the law, not only for us but for you," Greene said.
Representatives of the St. Marys City Police Department, Crystal Fire Department and St. Marys Ambulance Area Service all echoed Greene's comments.

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