A Parsons resident is pressing city staff to correct an issue with property addresses that she thinks causes confusion.

Vicki Pribble has spoken to the Parsons City Commission a few times about the issue, including on Monday, but City Manager Debbie Lamb said it’s really not much of a problem.

Addressing of properties within incorporated cities is the responsibility of city officials, while the county assigns addresses for property outside of cities.

Pribble has found 183 properties in town that have an address number of 0. This goes against the Kansas next generation 911 addressing guidelines set by the Kansas 911 Coordinating Council. Address ranges of a street segment must be identified, and numbers outside of those ranges shouldn’t be assigned to properties. For example, an address number of 220 can’t be assigned on a block with a range of 1000 to 1099. Nowhere in town is there a range that starts with 0.

Also, Pribble said some properties in Parsons on the same street are listed at the county with the same address because both have 0 for a number. The guidelines state that no two pieces of property should have identical addresses. There are six properties with addresses of 0 Crawford Ave. and seven with 0 Washington Ave., and Pribble said there are many other streets with duplicate 0 addresses as well.

“A 911 address on a piece of land is like a Social Security number on a person,” Pribble said. 

Pribble thinks 0 addressing could cause confusion when emergency responders are trying to locate property. It also makes it difficult for people unfamiliar to Parsons to find locations, she said. If a person has the parcel number to the property, they can find a reference number and then find it on a county map, but “people don’t have time to do all that when they’re trying to find something,” Pribble said.

Lamb said most of the properties in town with 0 addresses are vacant lots. She doesn’t know how the properties’ original addresses were changed after structures were demolished, but she said perhaps it was done in the county mapping or register of deeds departments. She planned to check with the county about the issue.

Ray Scales, the county’s cartographer manager who is in charge of 911 addressing, agreed that a 0 address usually indicates a vacant lot, but he doesn’t change or assign addresses for any properties within incorporated cities. He said all addressing comes from the cities.

Lamb said after checking with Police Chief Robert Spinks, Fire Chief Jay Hawks and Rob Gartner, the city’s code enforcement officer and building inspector, she has determined that the 0 addresses don’t pose a problem for them. Scales said it’s usually not a problem for the county 911 dispatch either.

Some of the properties are city owned, such as Oakwood Cemetery, which has a phone book address of 300 S. Leawood Ave. but is registered as 0 Leawood Ave. with the county.

“To me, Oakwood Cemetery is a very important part of our city, and it deserves an address,” Pribble said.

The Parsons Recreation Center Multi-Arts Academy has an address of 0 Crawford Ave. The phone book address is 2920 Clark Ave., but Pribble said that’s not right either because addresses should be assigned based on where the entry door is located. The main door for the Multi-Arts Academy faces North 30th Street.

Besides the 0 addresses, Pribble found some instances of addresses without a direction indicator. Properties on streets running north and south in Parsons must have addresses that include north or south to indicate if they are north or south of Main Street because the numbering starts at 100 on both sides of Main. Pribble said the city’s No. 2 fire station has an address of 117 32nd St. Someone unfamiliar with the fire station’s location wouldn’t know if it was at 117 S. 32nd or 117 N. 32nd, Pribble said.

“If I was a new person in town (and) I had a baby that’s in my arms choking to death, (and) I’m trying to find the fire department, I wouldn’t know which direction to go,” she said.

Pribble volunteered to work with a city employee to correct the addressing mistakes. She asked city commissioners to do what is needed to correct the errors. Mayor Bill Hogelin asked Lamb to check with the county about the issue.

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