If We Can't Find You - We Can't Help You!
In 1999, Centre County 911 Emergency Communications implemented a county-wide addressing project so we could provide residents and businesses with Enhanced 911 (E911). This project assigned street names and numbers to every residence and business in Centre County (that previously did not have a valid address) while eliminating all RD, RR and HCR route and box numbers. Some existing addresses were changed for corrective purposes, to stay within range and/or numbering sequence. We also collected phone data to link the address and landline phone together. All of our information is confidential and by law -- not shared with anyone outside of emergency services.
Although Centre County 911 Addressing maintains all county addresses and road names, the Municipalities are the legal authority under the Pennsylvania Municipal Codes via the Second Class Township Code…. the same with Boroughs through the Borough Code. More than half of the Centre County Municipalities have formally delegated responsibility (in writing) to Centre County 911, and some share the responsibility with 911. In the event of controversy, the borough or township has the final say/decision.
Can I Pick My Own Address?
Unfortunately no, you cannot. Addressing is based on criteria. Centre County utilizes the Frontage Interval Addressing System which is based on measurement of intervals between the beginning of a road - and the structures, roads and driveways along the road, as well as, where the structure is located, the direction in which the house or building faces the road, and the driveway also play an important factor. If construction varies from your sketch plan, your address will be changed/corrected!
How to Obtain an Address?
First and most important: you must own the lot/property you are requesting an address. We will not issue an address to potential buyers. No exceptions! Financial Institutions can use the property code number for any documents. The tax parcel ID number never changes. They can also use the road name and lot number. This is standard procedure in many counties across Pennsylvania. It works for us too.
- Call your township or borough to obtain all of your permits. We work closely with all the municipalities to ensure requirements have been met before we assign an address.
- After you have met township requirements, send the following items to 911 (either by mail, fax or email):
- Copy of your Building Permit/Zoning Permit.
- A Sketch plan of your property site. Sketch plan must show property boundary lines, your proposed driveway location, and where your house will be situated on the lot.
- If your driveway crosses another person's parcel, send a copy of your right-of-way or easement agreement.
- Worth Noting: If your house or driveway location(s) vary from your submitted sketch plan, your address will be changed/corrected!
- Using an invalid address that does not verify in our system or with the post office is illegal and punishable by law.
**PLEASE NOTE: We will not assign an address to a, personal barn, garage or shed or vacant lots with no building permit. A building permit must be obtained, and intent build within 6 to 12 months. Addresses are voided if no construction occurs in 12 months, the tentative assigned address will be removed from 911 and the post office. Places of business will follow the same procedure as residential.
If you are planning to demo a home, apartment building or business (addressable structure) – a permit is required for that. Please contact your township or borough to obtain the necessary papers.
Demolitions impact the 911 database and 911 maps. We maintain the addresses, roads and structures for all of Centre County. We need to know what your intentions are – are you rebuilding/replacing or leaving the lot vacant? The demolished structure needs removed from our map. This also determines whether or not we keep the address active in our system or do we delete it and notify the post office? Please let us know when you demo an addressable structure. Using an invalid address that does not verify in our system or the post office system is illegal and punishable by law.
If you are moving a mobile home from one location to another, 911 needs to update our map and our database. We need to know where you are moving it from and taking it to. The parcel numbers are required for us to confirm the transfer. Be sure to get your transfer permit from the township or borough and contact 911 so we can update our system. Remember, if we can't find you we can't help you!
Field Tech & Field Data Collection
The Field Tech performs routine checks throughout the entire County every week. He checks for new construction, demolitions, additions, lot clearing etc. Anything that will require 911 assistance is confirmed by our Field Tech and the Municipality before placing it on our 911 emergency map. The Field Tech digitizes buildings and driveways by his GPS Unit (Global Positioning Unit). This is then downloaded onto our 911 map and synced into our CAD system. Our maps are updated weekly, and our database is updated daily.
Street or Road Naming Criteria
Centre County 911 Addressing maintains both the addressing database and road name database for the entire county. This includes existing and proposed. We do this to prevent duplication that could potentially cause mayhem in emergency response. As mentioned earlier, all municipalities have the official or final approval; this includes any subdivision or land development plan as well.
- All streets will be named and approved by the Municipality and Centre County 911 Addressing.
- A driveway or road where two or more structures not clearly seen from the main road, requires naming.
- Two or more structures sharing a driveway becomes a private road and requires naming. The road will be named by the property owners (they will select 3 to 5 majority favored names, submit to 911 in writing by emailing Addressing with the final approval/adoption by the municipality).
Road Naming Guidelines
A street name should be easy to read, easy to spell and easy to pronounce & understand so that children can use the name in emergency situations. We press for street names to add to the community by promoting local heritage, history and traditions, as well as, reflect local geography and character. Historically used road names should be retained where possible.
Road names will be denied if it does not meet the following guidelines:
- No names which may be offensive or contain double meanings – they will be denied.
- No duplicate names, no similar names or similar sound a-likes or similar pronunciation -- these will be denied. Examples: Smith, Smyth, Smythe, Allen or Alan, Grove Road or Grover Road. Duplicate names or sound alike names cause confusion and location issues throughout the county. It is in your best interest, for your safety and welfare and those who occupy your home, to not choose a duplicate name.
- Do not use frivolous or complicated words with unconventional spellings – they will be denied.
- Do not use special characters in road names such as hyphens, apostrophes or dashes – they will be denied.
- Avoid the use of standard suffixes, prefixes or directional suffixes in the road name. Such as North Boulevard, Avenue of the Pines, West St – they will be denied.
- Avoid using family names ( sur names), personal names or names of individuals of any living persons or politicians--they will be denied.
If you wish to preview your road name before submitting to 911 for reveille, go to the County's street list.
If you are submitting a subdivision or land development plan with new streets—a paper copy or digital image of the plan (PDF, JPEG) is required and should be attached to your road name request list. It is recommended when naming a subdivision, a "theme" of road names be placed throughout the entire subdivision as a means of general identification: Example: birds, flowers, states, trees, cars. As said… "themes".
Road names can be reserved for a period of 3 years from submission. After three 3 years, the reservation is lifted and removed.
Street Signs: We encourage the use of public street signs to identify all named roads.
Signs in PennDOT right-or-ways must meet the PennDOT standards. Street Signs should be reflective with letters 4 to 6 inches in height on a contrasting background. Examples: (white on green) (white on blue) (white on black, white on brown). Standard post height is 7 feet.
- Public Street Signs are the responsibility of the municipality.
- Private Road Signs residents are required to purchase and install signs on their private roads where the municipality does not. Private roads must have their road names approved by the municipality.
- Vanity Signs are signs a resident will purchase and install to recognize their name, hobby or something of personal interest. Samples include Harley Davidson Alley, Buffalo Bills Boulevard, Nascar Raceway, Steeler Boulevard We strongly discourage these signs because they present very dangerous situations. These are not municipal approved official road names or signs to identify your location. They are not part of our 911 emergency map. As a result, invalid road names require additional time (delays) in an emergency situation where seconds count! Keep all vanity signs closest to the structure, away from the main roads to eliminate confusion.
Posting House Numbers
The house number shall be reflective, and must a minimum of 6 inches in height and made up of numbers and/or letters contrasting in color of the background on which they are affixed. For consistency throughout the county, please place the numbers as near the front entrance as possible and practical, with adequate lighting so the house ID is legible from the sidewalk (if any), street and the opposite side of the road--day or night, during a bad storm or heavy snow fall when visibility is impaired. Visibility of your house number is key for finding you quickly. Please check with your municipality for their specific requirements.
- Residences, Townhouse and "In-Town" Businesses, Apartment Buildings: 6 inches, reflective, by the front door, above the garage or both places.
- Private Lanes and Long Driveways: A resident whose house number is not clearly visible from the main road/street must install a reflective road name sign where the driveway meets the main road. The letters and/or numbers 4 to 6 inches in height, post height 7 feet.
Landlords are fully responsible for providing adequate building numbers and apartment or suite numbers on their rental properties. This is very important. Landlords must educate their tenants on the proper address.
If your mailbox is placed along the road, another quick way for responders to locate you is to label both sides of the mailbox in reflective numbering. It's a time saver!!! Be sure to identify your mailbox accordingly.