Gilford sticks to position that Smith Farm is a road, not a lane

GILFORD — Selectmen this week agreed to keep the name of Smith Farm Road as the address for a lot that was subdivided off from 95 Sleeper Hill Road, despite the desire of E-911 to change it to something more distinct.

Planning Board Director John Ayer said Nathan and Carolyn Smith subdivided a 2.37-acre lot and sold it to another family. He said the sale triggered the need for the Smiths to come up with a new address as they couldn't use 95 Sleeper Hill Road any longer.

Ayer said he learned there are three or more homes off of the new road and E-911 requires the town to assign addresses for emergency responders.

In November, Ayer said he checked with both the fire chief and the acting police chief who agreed the name Smith Farm Road would be appropriate and would not cause any confusion in the event of an emergency response.

Ayer said when he advised E-911 about the new name, a data administrations manager balked and recommended it be changed to Smith Farm Lane so as not to confuse it with Smith Cove Road. The administrator said that Emergency Services Director Earl Cheney would be calling the fire chief or the town administrator to discuss it.

Property owners began clamoring for an address, said Ayer, noting the Smiths operate a maple sugar operation and need an address in order to register their products.

Since Cheney hadn't yet contacted the town, Ayer and Town Administrator Scott Dunn met and decided to recommend to selectmen to name the road Smith Farm Road.

In December of 2013, selectmen officially named the road Smith Farm Road.

Ayer said that when he sent notification to E-911, they immediately got a letter from Cheney opposing the road name and asking them to change it to Smith Farm Lane.

Ayer explained to selectmen Wednesday night that the reasons the road name should remain Smith Farm Road is because E-911 makes non-binding recommendations, the name Smith Farm Road has been used informally for years to identify the Smith's driveway and even appears on Google Maps, the local chiefs didn't find the name confusing, and in his and Dunn's opinion, Smith Farm Lane is also non-compliant with E-911 guidelines.

Dunn pointed out that selectmen do not need the approval of the state to name a town road. He also said that any road name change now could have negative effects on the Smiths and the other residents because they would have to change their addresses for a second time.

He said the Smiths have already printed materials for their Smith Farm Stand business.