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17,000 Pierce County properties to get new addresses next year to comply with 911 standards

Those pesky “KPN” and “KPS” designations on Key Peninsula addresses would disappear beginning next year under a proposal being considered by the County Council. The change would bring addresses on the Peninsula and Fox and Anderson islands into compliance with current 911 standards.
Those pesky “KPN” and “KPS” designations on Key Peninsula addresses would disappear beginning next year under a proposal being considered by the County Council. The change would bring addresses on the Peninsula and Fox and Anderson islands into compliance with current 911 standards. dmontesino@thenewstribune.com

If you’ve ever lost yourself on the Key Peninsula while trying to locate an address with the mysterious “KPN” suffix, help is on the way.

Barring unforeseen opposition, the Pierce County Council will approve a resolution before year’s end adopting address changes on the Key Peninsula, Fox Island and Anderson Island. “KPN” and “KPS” will disappear, along with “FI” and “AI.”

The unconventional address headings bedevil visitors, but they also hinder first responders, even those who know their way around.

“Many of our personnel know the area well and still have trouble finding some addresses,” said Key Peninsula Fire Chief Guy Allen. “This problem quickly becomes much more serious when we have a major emergency, and crews from out of the area respond to back us up.”

Many of our personnel know the area well and still have trouble finding some addresses. This problem quickly becomes much more serious when we have a major emergency and crews from out of the area respond to back us up.

Key Peninsula Fire Chief Guy Allen

The address-change proposal would comply with standards set by the U.S. Postal Service and Next Generation 911, an online system that allows information to flow more easily. For instance, a 911-compliant address allows people seeking help to reach 911 via text messages as well as standard phone calls.

“I think the big thing for us and South Sound 911 (the county’s emergency-dispatch agency) is that this upgrade is going to lead to the 911 system being adaptable to new technologies as they come out,” said Tiffany O’Dell, the county’s senior planner who is handling the project.

The proposal would affect about 17,000 properties in the three areas. Most addresses in Pierce County are already compliant; current addresses on the Peninsula and the two small islands are not.

Apart from erasing the tricky suffixes, also known as “directionals” a smaller set of about 375 “problematic” addresses on the Peninsula will be corrected. Those include house numbers out of sequence, addresses linked to roads that can’t be used for access, and addresses on the wrong side of streets.

Apart from erasing the tricky suffixes, also known as “directionals,” a smaller set of about 375 “problematic” addresses on the Peninsula will be corrected. Those include house numbers out of sequence, addresses linked to roads that can’t be used for access, and addresses on the wrong side of streets.

The county will slow-walk the process, starting with an early 2018 date for the address changes to take effect. Postal carriers will honor the old addresses for another year after that, giving property owners and renters time to adjust their contact information.

The county has set up an online page providing information about the project. A community meeting to explain the changes is set for 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at the Key Peninsula Civic Center, where the old address system still holds: 17010 S. Vaughn Rd., KPN, Vaughn.

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