BERRYVILLE — Some Hermitage residents are upset at the possibility of having to change their addresses as the subdivision's development continues.
They voiced their displeasure during a public comment period at Tuesday night's Berryville Town Council meeting.
Last fall, in preparation for the subdivision's fifth phase of development, the council approved a rezoning to align proposed lots with zoning district lines. The rezoning was necessary, officials said, because of new state stormwater management rules intended to protect water quality.
The new lot layout changed how the subdivision's streets are configured. According to Town Manager Keith Dalton, an original revised design called for Dunlap to intersect with Tyson Drive at a T-shaped intersection. A new option would have Tyson continuing to the east to a point at which it would intersect with Dunlap, as that street exists now.
Town officials recommended that 12 homes on 13 lots with Dunlap Drive addresses, from the intersection of Hermitage Boulevard southward, be given Tyson Drive addresses. They said that Clarke County emergency officials favor the address changes to make it easier for police, firefighters and emergency medical crews to find homes in the neighborhood.
"I'm not certain it's going to mean a big difference" to emergency crews, said John Zambanini of Dunlap Drive, one of various Hermitage residents who addressed the council.
His neighbor, Peter Lawrence, said most crews who respond to the subdivision already are familiar with the streets.
"Remember the inconvenience it will cause" people who have to change their addresses, said Dunlap Drive resident Herb Jordan.
Affected residents would need to get a new driver’s license and update their mailing addresses with government agencies, firms with which they do business and people with whom they correspond, officials have acknowledged.
Being forced to change your address is not just a practical dilemma, but also an emotional one, according to Samantha Walraven, who has lived on Dunlap for more than 17 years.
For homeowners, especially ones who have lived in the same house for many years, the address becomes "part of who we are" as individuals, Walraven said.
John Mason said he already is making notifications of an address change because he is moving into a home along Dunlap.
"I have no interest in doing it a second time," he said, referring to changing addresses.
Dalton said the subdivision's developer has not yet presented a final subdivision plat for consideration.
It also is possible, he said, to have a breaking point amid the new development at which homes west of Dunlap's intersection with Norris Street would retain Tyson addresses while home east of the intersection would keep Dunlap addresses.
Officials will consult further with emergency services providers and the Virginia Department of Transportation, Dalton continued, before bringing a recommendation to the council.
A public input session likely will be scheduled within a few months so Hermitage residents can examine "what's on the table" at that time and comment on it before the council considers approving any plan, he said.
Public safety is the ultimate concern when determining addresses, Dalton said.
In the process, however, "any disruptions to citizens are not taken lightly," he said.