Chapter 15.08


Article I. Uniform Policy

15.08.010    Establishment of uniform policy.

15.08.020    Definitions.

15.08.030    Road naming policy.

15.08.040    Policy on display of proper road names.

15.08.050    Method of assigning addresses.

15.08.060    Policy of County records on road naming and addressing.

15.08.070    Responsibilities.

15.08.080    Exemptions.

Article II. Guidelines for Implementation

15.08.200    Responsibility.

15.08.210    Building addressing method.

15.08.220    Road type designator guidelines.

15.08.230    Method of determining building numbers.

15.08.240    Display of building numbers.

*    Prior legislation: Res. 34-1977 and Ord. 25-1992. Formerly 9.20.010 – 9.20.120.

Article I. Uniform Policy

15.08.010 Establishment of uniform policy.

A. There is hereby established a uniform system of addressing all buildings in unincorporated San Juan County, Washington. All houses, businesses and meeting places shall be addressed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

B. The County engineer is hereby charged with administering this chapter, establishing the addressing system and insuring that a proper address is assigned to each building. The initial effort shall be to carry out the addressing on those islands which have wireline telephone service; the remaining islands shall be addressed as deemed appropriate by the County engineer after consultation with the emergency responders. Policies adopted under this provision shall be reviewed pursuant to SJCC 15.08.070(7). (Ord. 17-1995)

15.08.020 Definitions.

A. “Building” shall mean the principal dwelling, business establishment, meeting hall or occupied recreational lot.

B. “Address” shall mean the combination of a road name and a building number. (Ord. 17-1995)

15.08.030 Road naming policy.

A. All County roads, as well as private roads serving two or more parcels with buildings, shall be named.

B. Road names already in use will stay the same except that duplicate names will be changed. Any road which bears more than one name may be renamed. Any road name conflicting with the intent of this chapter may also be changed as deemed necessary by the County engineer. The choice for which name(s) should be changed shall be the responsibility of the County engineer. The following factors will be considered when making that determination: (1) which name was officially adopted first, (2) number of addresses affected by the change, (3) historical and geographic significance of the names, and (4) how well known the name(s) is/are among the general public and emergency providers. The County engineer will notify the affected property owners when a name is to be changed.

C. Names for new or renamed roads will conform to the guidelines set forth in this chapter and be approved by the County engineer. Appeals will be decided by the board of County commissioners.

D. A new name for a road shall be chosen by a petition of 60 percent or more of the property owners adjoining the road or by an association of such property owners. If a consensus cannot be reached it is recommended that an impartial party such as the local historical society be invited to provide a recommendation. If no petition is forthcoming within a time period set by the County engineer, which shall be less than two weeks, the County engineer will assign a name.

E. Names should be pleasant sounding, appropriate, easy to read and pronounce, especially in emergency situations. New names shall not be numerical (1st, 2nd), alphabetical letters (A, B), frivolous, complicated, or have unconventional spellings.

F. Duplicate or substantially similar names shall not be allowed within one island. Names beginning with the same first word or similar in pronunciation shall not be allowed unless the County engineer deems them substantially dissimilar.

G. If a road is interrupted by a barrier such as a ravine, river, cliff, etc. and eventual connection is not probable, the segments shall bear different names.

H. Roadways servicing only one lot shall not be named. An exception may be made if the owner has taken steps to plat a subdivision.

I. Each road should bear only one name along its entire length. If an exception is made, the name change shall occur at a point readily visible when traveling the roadway, preferably at a major road intersection. Exceptions must be approved by the County engineer.

J. Directional designators shall not be used except in reference to a landmark or well-known geographic feature.

K. Extensions of existing named roads shall bear the name of the previously existing section, or the entire roadway may be renamed by petition of the property owners in accordance with this chapter.

L. A processing fee of $100.00 shall be charged the petitioners for any road name change not required by this chapter or requested by a County agency. (Ord. 1-1999; Ord. 17-1995)

15.08.040 Policy on display of proper road names.

A. County and named private roads shall be signed in accordance with signing standards set by the County engineer.

B. No road sign shall be posted for any road or driveway not officially named in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 1-1999; Ord. 17-1995)

15.08.050 Method of assigning addresses.

A. An address shall be assigned to all principal dwellings, business establishments, meeting halls or occupied recreational lots.

B. Peripheral buildings, such as guest houses, barns, sheds, garages and such may be addressed if requested by the property owner and/or if the County engineer deems it necessary for public safety.

C. All building numbers shall be assigned along roads in sequential order in relation to the road’s point of origin and shall be determined according to the placement of the driveway.

D. Roads which cross jurisdictional boundaries shall be addressed so that the numbering is continuous across the boundary. This is to assure non-disruption of the numbering sequence in case of future annexations. (Ord. 1-1999; Ord. 17-1995)

15.08.060 Policy of County records on road naming and addressing.

A. For the purpose of facilitating correct addressing, maps of all roads and public ways within the County jurisdiction showing the proper addresses of all buildings shall be kept on file and/or in the Geographic Information System (GIS) in the office of the County engineer. These maps shall be open to inspection to all persons during regular business hours of said office.

B. There is hereby established an official system of road names in San Juan County to be maintained in the GIS databases in the offices of the County engineer.

C. Names of roads in the jurisdiction of San Juan County shall remain as listed in said files or databases unless officially changed.

D. No new roads shall be addressed until such roads have been named. (Ord. 1-1999; Ord. 17-1995)

15.08.070 Responsibilities.

A. Whenever any building shall be erected or located in unincorporated San Juan County after December 20, 1995, it shall be the duty of the owner(s) to procure the correct address for the property from the County engineer.

B. No building permit shall be issued for any building until the owner has procured from the County engineer the official address of the premises.

C. The San Juan County engineer or his/her appointee shall, upon the application or request of the owner of any property, ascertain the correct address thereof in accordance with the addressing system as set forth in this chapter.

D. In order to enable emergency responders to quickly find an emergency location, especially at night or in poor weather, the owner or person in charge of any building is requested and encouraged to affix the building number near the building’s main entrance facing the road. If the building cannot be easily seen from the road then the building number should be displayed at the beginning of the driveway: on a mailbox, fencepost, tree, or similar place, so as to be visible and legible when approaching from either direction. The numbers should be of a color in contrast to their background. Preferably the number digits or their background should be of reflective material.

E. Should the County engineer be notified in writing that any building does not have an address, or is not correctly addressed, or the building number is not displayed, the owner, agent or lessee of said building shall be notified.

F. It shall be unlawful for any person to alter, deface or take down any building numbers sign placed on any property by the owner or owner’s agent, in accordance with this chapter, except for immediate repair or replacement of such sign.

G. On or about December 31, 1998, and not to exceed 10 years thereafter, the County engineer shall review with the emergency provider community the progress and adequacy of all aspects of addressing, and shall subsequently report their findings to the board of County commissioners together with any appropriate recommendations. (Ord. 17-1995)

15.08.080 Exemptions.

A. Physical addresses for Brown, Pearl and Obstruction Islands will consist of a lot number and island name.

B. The islands of Brown, Pearl and Obstruction are exempt from any provision of this chapter which conflicts with the provisions of this section. (Res. 121-1998)

Article II. Guidelines for Implementation

15.08.200 Responsibility.

The County engineer shall be responsible for implementing this article. (Res. 57-1996)

15.08.210 Building addressing method.

Building addresses shall be assigned in the following manner:

A. If there is more than one single-family building on one lot each such building should be assigned the same number with a different letter suffix, progressing in the same manner as increases in the building numbers.

B. Multi-family dwellings with each unit having a separate entrance should be assigned a building number with a letter suffix progressing in the same manner as increases in the building numbers.

C. Multi-family dwellings such as apartments having only one main entrance should be assigned only one address and separate apartments in the building will carry a letter designation or apartment number that should progress in the same manner as increases in building numbers. Only one-level buildings may use letter designations. Multi-level buildings should be assigned apartment or unit numbers with the “100” series on the first floor, “200” series on the second floor, etc.

D. For multi-building commercial complexes with a single major access to the compound the complex should carry a road address associated with the major access location and each building should be given a building designator (building A, B, etc.) and suites should be numbered as in subsection (C) for apartments, progressing as near as possible in the same manner as the increases in building numbers.

E. A corner lot structure is assigned an address determined by the facing of the principal entrance where it is clearly visible. If the entrance is not clearly visible the building number shall be assigned according to where the access falls.

F. Commercial buildings with more than one individual office but only one main entrance should have addresses assigned as in subsection (C) for apartments. For commercial buildings having more than one main entrance each such entrance should be assigned a building number and any individual offices within such a main entrance should be assigned suite numbers which should progress in the same manner as the increase in addresses. Single level commercial buildings may have suites with letter designators. Multi-level commercial buildings should have suites in the “100” series on the first floor, “200” series on the second floor, etc.

G. Mobile home parks, recreational vehicle parks, and similar establishments with only one ownership should be addressed with one number for the park based on where the main entrance meets a road. Each lot should have a separate space number assigned in an orderly fashion progressing as near as possible in the same manner as increases in road addressing. (Res. 57-1996)

15.08.220 Road type designator guidelines.

The following guidelines should be used for assigning road type designators:

A. Avenue*: through-roads, not dead-ends, generally in urban service areas or in areas platted as towns.

B. Boulevard*: a through-road, may be divided by a landscaped center island.

C. Circle*: a short road that returns to itself.

D. Court*: a minor road less than 1,000 feet in length, ending in a turnaround.

E. Drive: a through-road or a scenic throughway.

F. Highway: usually state or federal highways, but can be a County road.

G. Lane: generally connotes a minor road, usually a dead end.

H. Loop: a minor road of limited length forming a closed loop, which begins and ends in the same road.

I. Place: generally connotes a minor road of limited length, often a dead-end or cul-de-sac.

J. Road: generally thoroughfares that are frequently used, and have relatively heavy traffic volume. May be a rural dead-end.

K. Street*: generally a thoroughfare.

L. Terrace: a minor road of limited length, implies location on a hillside.

M. Trail: a minor road, possibly curvilinear, possibly wooded.

N. Way: generally a minor road. (Res. 57-1996)

*     Usually in urban service areas or areas which are platted or designated as towns, villages, hamlets, or island centers.

15.08.230 Method of determining building numbers.

A. The point of origin of a road shall be where its centerline meets the centerline of the through-road from which it branches off. If a road does not branch off another road then its point of origin shall be the ferry or main boat landing of the island.

B. Building numbers are assigned in ascending sequence according to the distance traveled from the point of origin to the centerline of the driveway which services the building(s) requiring a number. The point of origin has the theoretical address of 0.

C. There shall be 1,000 potential building number locations per mile, 500 on each side of the road. The odd 500 shall be on the left side, the even 500 shall be on the right side, as viewed from the point of origin. For example: a driveway located on the left side at a road distance of 5.421 miles from the point of origin shall receive an address of 5421. If it were on the right it could be 5420 or 5422.

D. The distance measurement shall be obtained by measuring from the nearest milepost. (Res. 57-1996)

15.08.240 Display of building numbers.

To facilitate being located promptly by emergency responders, owners are strongly encouraged, but not required, to display building numbers. The building number should be displayed in the following manner:

A. 1. The building number should be conspicuously placed immediately above, on, or at the side of the main entrance of each building so that the number can be seen plainly from the road.

2. If the main entrance is on the side or does not face the road, the building number should be conspicuously placed on the side of the building facing the road.

3. When the view of the building is blocked, the number should be conspicuously placed on a post, gate, fence, tree, etc. somewhere in an arc within 30 feet from where the center of the driveway or access meets the road, in such a way that the building number placard is parallel with the main roadway or is visible when approaching from either direction. It shall be at a height of between four and six feet from the level of the road.

4. On a corner lot, the building number should face the road named in the address.

5. Building numbers should be of a contrasting color with regard to the background.

6. Building numbers should preferably be reflective, making them easily visible at night.

7. Building numbers should be plain block numerals, not script or written numbers.

8. Building numbers should be a minimum of five inches in height.

9. Building numbers with a pointer “left” or “right” should also be posted at any fork within the private drives.

B. Where there are multiple buildings to a complex and one address for the total complex each building should display the building designator (building A, building B, etc.) on the outside of the building in lettering not less than five inches high facing the commonly used driveway of that building.

C. Duplexes, triplexes, mobile home parks, recreational vehicle parks, migrant camps, etc. that have lot numbers or letter designators in addition to the road address should conspicuously place the designator on the structure as described above. A complex or park shall be consistent in the placement of the designators so that each unit or lot is marked in the same respective place for ease of identification.

D. Mobile home parks having more than one road should post a map directory layout, comprised of contrasting colors, of the lot numbers. The directory should be no smaller than four feet by four feet in size and posted at each entrance to the park so that it is easily read from the road.

E. Multi-building complexes, either apartments or otherwise, should install a directory (no smaller than 24 inches x 24 inches) of the composition of the complex, and the suite or apartment numbering system, at each entrance to the complex. (Res. 57-1996)