OPINION: County fails at basic services

By JoAnn Kalenak

What would you do if you woke up one day to find your address had changed suddenly and without prior notice?

I’ll take a guess and assume you’d be pretty upset. I know I would be.

This is just what happened to several residents living on Last Chance Road in Delta.

The story has more twists than a Nancy Drew mystery, but suffice it to say, the county screwed up big time.

Rick Nelson, owner/operator of Black Canyon Wing and Clay, a private, upland game hunting preserve, approached the county in 2016 to request a road name change. His son was dying of brain cancer and living on Last Chance Road felt dooming. Nelson suggested Pheasant Rich Road (no connection to his shooting club business, I’m sure) and County Administrator Robbie LeValley told staff and commissioners that Mr. Nelson had approached all of his neighbors and gained their approval — a statement Nelson now denies ever having said.

Bottom line, Commissioners granted the name change by resolution but no one passed the information on to appropriate county staff for follow through (probably because Administrator LeValley had gutted the planning and GIS departments months prior to the resolution).

Almost 18 months later, problems bubble to the surface when residents wake up to new road signs and want to know what the heck happened since the county GIS department still has their address listed as Last Chance Road and they were never notified of the change by the planning department.

In other words, Pheasant Rich Road doesn’t really exist, at least, not according to Google Maps or any other GIS locater so, anyone from UPS to Delta County Ambulance can’t find the address no matter how hard they try.

Circling back to the original resolution, several residents believe it should never have happened, while others just want to be “on the map” again.

During discussion by commissioners at last Monday’s public meeting rehashing the name change, Commissioner Suppes pinned the original resolution on “people who are no longer here” and Commissioner Roeber simply apologized for not noticing residents of the name change.

Folks, road naming is a basic county function under the planning department and this one is an embarrassment. At the time of the request, Delta County’s planning department was under the direction of Administrator LeValley with the help of a high-paid planning contractor, both of whom are still working with the county.

Delta County, please, get your act together or step aside so that others can provide the service our residents deserve.