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HPD on lookout for house numbers

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle residents have until Jan. 1, 2004 to make sure their house numbers are prominently displayed on their house or mailbox or face a fine.
Hartselle's City Council recently passed an ordinance making it a ticketable offense for houses not to be properly marked. Failure to comply with the ordinance could land offenders in municipal court and facing a fine.
But the issue is not about generating revenue, according to Police Chief Ron Merkh.
"We're not trying to get more money," Merkh said. "We are trying to enforce safety issues."
Merkh said his department, as well as ambulance services and other emergency vehicles, often have to search for homes because address numbers are not visible.
"We will have gold numbers on a brick house and you can't see them," Merkh said. "You could be waiting on an ambulance for your mother who's had a heart attack and they can't find your house."
The new ordinance requires reflective numbers at least 3 inches tall to be prominently on a house or mailbox. If your home is more than 50 feet away from the front of the street, the numbers must be on the mailbox, too. The numbers should be on both sides of the mailbox and on the side of the house with the front door.
"The key word is prominently," Merkh said. "We have to be able to see them."
Businesses are also required to post their address numbers.
Under the ordinance, anyone applying for a certificate of occupancy for a new home could be denied if the numbers aren't displayed properly. For existing homes, Merkh said most of the enforcement will come if the police make a call at a home and then discover the numbers are not visible.
Merkh said some residents are also confused because they had used one address and then another following the 911 conversion, especially in areas annexed into the city. If someone is unsure of their proper street address, they can contact Jeff Johnson with the city's Department of Development.