EVERGREEN (CBS4) – After living in the same home for decades, some Jefferson County homeowners are being told to change their addresses.
County leaders say a more “specific address” will make it easier for first responders to find them in an emergency. But in some cases, the address changes have had unintended consequences.
Residents in the Quartz Mountain neighborhood were recently told they needed to change their addresses. Before the changes the Quartz Mountain neighborhood was a series of unnamed mountain roads, which all had addresses on the main street at the entrance of their complex, South Kittredge Park Road. Now each branch of the road has its own unique name.
Marty Unger lives on Quartz Mountain and is a supporter of the county’s plan. She thinks the change will help first responders find her home.
“In a time of emergency, you can’t be on the phone saying ‘go 6/10ths of a mile, turn right between the stone pillars, go 7/10ths of a mile.’ ” Unger said, “You don’t want to deal with that.”
Unger says the lack of specific street names has caused problems in the past. She recalls an ambulance driving right past a neighbor who was having a medical emergency.
“They had to call again and say, ‘You missed us! Get back here!’ ” Unger recalled.
Just to be safe, the Ungers and their neighbors post both their old and new addresses on their mailboxes.
Jefferson County planning director John Wolforth says a policy to name all mountain roads took effect in 1996 in an effort to make the community safer. But Jefferson County is slowly making the changes as development happens.
“I think it will be a burden on the system all at one time unless we can do this in stages,” Wolforth said.
Wolforth says it is not practical to rename every mountain road at once and said, “With every address change, there are growing pains.”
The senior citizens living at the Rocky Mountain Village in Bergen Park report feeling those growing pains. The residents of the 130-unit condo complex which has stood on County Road 65 since the mid-90s was also told they needed to change their addresses.
“We’re still in the same place, so what’s changed?” said Rocky Mountain Village resident Carmen Fink, who says a plumber from nearby Conifer was over an hour late because he couldn’t find her new address in his GPS.
Other residents like Juanita Zellner have reported problems paying bills and changing their addresses with Social Security and Medicare.
“People thought I moved,” Zellner said, “I think it was United Healthcare sent me a letter that if I had moved I might not be eligible to get the same health care plan that I had before.”
The problem is the new street names aren’t immediately showing up on mapping systems. Property Manager Kathy Crump says even the Sheriff’s Office couldn’t find the new address when she called for help last month.
“It was very concerning. They’ve always known where it was,” said Crump.
The Jefferson County sheriff says the mapping system it uses in patrol cars is updated on a monthly basis. They assure CBS4 the new addresses are now in their system.
– Written by Mark Ackerman for CBSDenver.com