Township puts priority on erecting their remaining 9-1-1 signs

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 11/22/00.

Residents of Paynesville Township who are unhappy with the location of their new 9-1-1 sign will have to wait to change it.

With the weather turning cold, the board of supervisors directed Mike Jensen to focus on erecting the remaining signs while the ground remains unfrozen.

To discourage property owners from moving the 9-1-1 sign themselves, the township will be collecting any signs that are moved and will re-erect them, at the expense of the property owner, when time allows.

Don Pietsch, board chairman, and township maintenance man, Mike Jensen, who is erecting the signs, have gone to a few houses and negotiated with the owners about their sign's location. That, however, takes time, and with winter approaching the board decided erecting the remaining signs ought to take priority over rearranging them.

A fear is to have a sign in storage when it is needed in an emergency.

So far, Jensen has put up the signs on these roads in the township: Apple Tree Lane, Baywater Road, Britton Road, Cedardale Road, Cherrywood Road, County Road 124 (recently renamed Old Lake Road), County Road 34, Golfview Court, Heatherwood Drive, Highland Drive, Hillside Court, King Bee Drive, Koronis Drive, Northwest Koronis Road, La Court Drive, Lake Koronis Road, Northwood Drive, State Highway 23, State Highway 55, 253rd Avenue, 263rd Avenue, and 273rd Avenue.

He plans to work along County Road 181 this week.

Care and thought is being put into each sign's location. Paynesville Township is following the county's recommendations for erecting the signs. Jensen calls for a hole location for each sign before putting the post in the township's road right of way.

Another fear is that do-it-yourself sign movers could injure themselves by putting the sign in a new location. Hitting a gas or utility line carries the threat of a fine.

Township officials think that the moved signs create a domino effect. "What's happening is one person moves it, so the next person says, 'I'll move mine,'" explained Pietsch.

Paynesville Township is following the county's recommendation for placing signs. Other townships have not followed these guidelines, which are not binding, to the letter.

So residents have seen 9-1-1 signs by the mailbox, across from the house, in other townships. Paynesville Township is only placing the sign on the same side of the road as the residence.

Marvin Klug, emergency services director for Stearns County, said this location was deemed the best for assisting emergency services in finding a residence. Having the sign on the same side tells the driver immediately which side the house is on.

"Before we made that recom-mendation, we checked...what other townships and counties were doing around the state and that was the standard," said Klug.

Klug also noted that having the sign on the same side as the house would eliminate confusion should another residence be located across the road. "There may not be someone there now, but there may be in the future," he said.

The township will be collecting and storing any 9-1-1 signs that are moved and will look at erecting these signs again when the others are done. "If they're going to alter it, let's wait 'til we can do it right," said Pietsch.

Residents who are dissatisfied with the location of their 9-1-1 sign can call a township officer to put their name on a list. When all the signs are in, then the township will discuss options with individual homeowners.

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