After 31 months of discussion, parliamentary maneuvers and indecisiveness, Lexington's Urban County Council voted 9-5 on Tuesday to, essentially, allow a block of historic bungalows on Richmond Avenue to keep their original street addresses.
Residents were told in 2010 that all 48 houses in the first block of Richmond Avenue, in the Kenwick neighborhood, would have to change their addresses because two of the addresses contained fractions. That's not allowed under city ordinance.
Neighbors adamantly opposed the change.
When homeowner Cathy Zigmund heard about council's decision Tuesday, her reaction was a loud "Yahoo!"
Zigmund lives at 28½ Richmond Avenue, one of the two houses that caused the uproar. The other was 43½ Richmond Avenue.
"This house has been 28½ Richmond Avenue for 90 years and nobody had a problem with it. For them to worry about it now is kind of stupid," Zigmund said. "But, whatever, I'm just happy common sense prevailed."
At its work session Tuesday, council reached a compromise with the city's addressing committee, which was to replace the fractions with letters.
David Lucas, director of enhanced 911, said four addresses would change — 28 and 28½ Richmond Avenue would become 28A and 28B. Down the street, 43 and 43½ would become 43A and 43B.
"We told the addressing people over a year ago we were cool with adding letters," Zigmund said. "But they said, 'No, no. We don't do letters.'"
The city computer system that dispatches police and fire fighters does not recognize fractions or letters, Lucas said.
However, some residential and business addresses already contain letters. These have not been forced to change. But with new addresses — or when addresses are changed — letters are prohibited.
Bringing uniformity to street addresses in Fayette County began in the mid-1990s, when the federal government said every city was required to develop a numbering system for 911 services.
Council member Diane Lawless, whose district includes Richmond Avenue, said police and firefighters have told council that the Richmond Avenue numbering won't affect their work. Council member Bill Farmer said having single- and double-digit addresses adds to the quality that makes Lexington special.
Council member George Myers told Lucas, "You're impacting so many people just because you're trying to eliminate half numbers in two instances. It seems to me we ought to vote this down."
Voting against allowing the addresses to stay the same were Vice Mayor Linda Gorton, Ed Lane, Tom Blues, Kevin Stinnett and Doug Martin.
Beverly Fortune: (859) 231-3251. Twitter: @BFortune2010