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Council mulls road name ‘confusion’
Chatham Road designation is at issue

Monday, June 23, 2014

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Will the real Chatham Road please stand out?

Both Virginia 457, stretches of which are in Martinsville and Henry County, and Virginia 57, which 457 runs into and is entirely in the county, are known by that name, either officially or unofficially.

City officials want to eliminate confusion about the routes. Martinsville City Council will hear a report on that effort Tuesday night.

Sometimes the confusion has led to troubles in locating properties for mail delivery and response by emergency services workers, according to a report in the council’s agenda packet.

In terms of addresses, Chatham Road officially is the stretch of 457 that runs through the city’s Chatham Heights area. At the city limits, the road becomes Old Chatham Road, according to Assistant City Manager Wayne Knox, who also is the city’s director of community development.

The road now known as 457 originally was 57 until the portion of 57 that stretches from U.S. 58 just east of Martinsville to its intersection with 457 was built several decades ago.

That is where the confusion stems from, Knox said, because all of those portions of roads sometimes are referred to as Chatham Road.

The Martinsville Planning Commission will study the situation soon and make a recommendation on how to resolve it to the council, Knox said.

“It would be easier if it (457) is called the same throughout its route” in both the city and county, Knox said.

Renaming the city portion of the road as Old Chatham Road, like its county portion, could be the solution, he acknowledged. That would enable all of 57, and nothing else, to be known as Chatham Road.

Yet the planning commission could come up with another idea that makes more sense and/or be easier to implement, he said.

Chatham Heights Road, maybe? Some people call the city stretch of 457 that, but there never has been a road with that official name, Knox said.

If the city stretch of 457 is renamed, the city would have to send letters of notification to property owners along the route, the U.S. Postal Service and 911 communications officials, Knox said.

There would be some inconveniences, he said, such as for property owners having to notify others of their address changes.

The city would try to minimize the inconveniences, Knox said.

However, he said the council might want to hold a public hearing before a change is made to the road’s name.

The council will hear the report on the Chatham Road situation when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the municipal building uptown.

Other agenda items will include:

• Hearing an update on the Mayors Maker Challenge.

• Hearing a presentation by Virginia First Cities Executive Director Kelly Harris Braxton.

• Considering setting a public hearing to convey property at the Fayette Street parking lot in response to a request by the ICSM Medical School.

• Considering approval on first reading of an amended ordinance regarding an Electronic Summons System Court Assessment.

• Considering approval of various resolutions regarding Virginia Retirement System contributions for the city and its schools.

• Hearing a report on city finances.

• Considering routine-type budget amendments.

• Hearing business from the floor.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the council will tour the YMCA on Starling Avenue.


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