Frequently Asked Questions
1. “Why might my street name need to be changed?”
There are several reasons why the county needs to change the names of some of its roads such as un-named roads, duplicate road names, branches of the same road name, continuous roads that change names, similar sounding road names, numbers for road names, etc. All roads that serve three or more properties, or are ¼ mile or longer in length, shall be named regardless of whether the ownership is public or private. A “road” refers to any highway, road, street, avenue, lane, private way, or similar paved, gravel, or dirt thoroughfare. These are problems for dispatchers who are responding to 911 calls and attempting to send emergency services to those in need of assistance.
2. "What about my neighbors' and my address numbers? Will they stay the same?"
Address numbers must now follow a logical sequence, and correspond to the correct side of the road. Rural addresses are based on distance measurement and urban address may be based on lots or distance measurements. The numbering patterns will vary from area to area, depending on factors such as how the street network is laid out or proximity to municipalities. The overriding goal of this program is to eliminate confusion.
Your addressable structure must have a site address on the road or lane from which it takes primary access. A site address consists of an address number, a directional if applicable, a road name, a road type, and a unit number if applicable (example: 101 N Main St, Unit 1). Under the County resolution, every addressable structure will be assigned a site address that corresponds to the location of the structure. It is required that the building number assigned to your home or business be displayed prominently on your mailbox and near your front door (if visible and located within 50’ of the road) or driveway entrance (if the front door area is not visible or is located further than 50’ from the road) to assist emergency services and others in locating you.
3. "I live on a private road. If my road is named or renamed, will there be a road name sign and who will pay for it?"
Each road is required to have a sign. This is true for both public and private roads. Installation and maintenance of signs on public roads will continue to be paid for by Flathead County. Flathead County will also pay for and facilitate the installation of new signs required on private roads that are not associated with new development. Any existing decorative (non-conforming) signs of the proper name on private roads can remain; the standard signs installed by the County will supplement these.
4. How long will the Postal Service deliver mail to my old address?
The postal service will deliver mail to your old address for a period of up to 12 months from the date of the change; however, you are encouraged to begin using your new address as of the effective date of the transition to the 911 records and are encouraged to notify your postal carrier of this change as soon as possible.
5. What about posting address numbers on my building or mailbox?
When structures are more than fifty feet from the edge of the roadway, the assigned number shall be displayed on a post, fence, wall, mailbox, or on some structure at the property line next to the access drive to the structure. When structures are within fifty feet of the roadway, the assigned number shall be displayed on the front of the structure near the front door or a place visible from the road. The size of the numbers shall be a minimum of 4-inches in height, regardless of the location that they are placed.
6. "When will these changes take place?"
The Address Improvement Program will be implemented over several years. Problem areas are identified and prioritized from 911 dispatch records, telephone records, and mapping software. Those property owners that are affected by readdressing are given one month to proactively name their access road by majority petition, following County guidelines. In the event a majority petition is not received within one month from notification, the County will rename the road.
7. "I'm not sure I like any of this. What if I just choose to ignore it?"
These changes are legal mandates. The addressing system is owned and maintained by Flathead County. Changes will occur, but our preference is to work with citizens, remain flexible, and implement these changes in a collaborative way. For those who wish to dispute any decisions, the name/rename adoption process is spelled out in detail in the Resolution.