NORWAY – Town officials in Greenwood may send letters to all residents in November reminding them to comply with the town’s addressing ordinance or face a possible fine.

Fred Henderson, chairman of the Board of Selectmen and the town’s addressing officer, said Monday he estimates that about 50 percent of the town’s residents do not have street numbers posted on or near their homes.

That could be a potential problem for emergency responders when someone calls 911, and responders lose crucial time trying to locate an address, said Henderson. “I’m concerned there may be someone drastically ill or has a fire, and if (responders) lost 10 or 15 minutes, it could be serious,” he said.

Henderson said he is uncertain why half of the town’s residents do not post their street numbers. “I think they feel they won’t need (emergency response,)” he said.

Greenwood’s population is slightly more than 800.

Greenwood’s Addressing Ordinance, which was adopted in 1996, stipulates that street numbers assigned by the town must be posted near the front door or the entry of residences. Henderson said that if the home is more than 50 feet from the road, the numbers should be posted out near the road, such as on a post or mailbox.

Letters may be mailed to all residents in November. “We would have to send them to everybody,” Henderson said. “It would be very expensive to find out who doesn’t have (numbers) up. We would have to go around and check numbers and names and it would be a complicated thing.”

The letters will set deadlines for complying with the ordinance. Henderson said specific deadlines have not been set yet, but town officials are considering Jan. 1 for year-round residents and sometime next summer for seasonal residents.

There may also be a $50 fine for failure to comply. “That is what we’re thinking; of course, we are hoping not to fine anyone,” he said.

Henderson said no one in town has ever complained about the addressing ordinance, but the issue has been a problem for several years. He has spoken individually to some residents, who then complied and posted their street numbers.

The ordinance applies to all public or private roads that serve or can serve two or more properties.

Under the Municipal Home Rule Powers section of the Maine Constitution, every community in the state has the authority to create physical addresses.

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