It had to happen, but I never thought it would happen so soon. Three weeks ago we went to the county building office to submit our house plans. While we were there, I mentioned to the guy behind the counter that we should register a name for the road we’re on. Karla’s dad had put that road in with his bulldozer over 30 years ago, but it was never formally named. The portion we’re on is about two miles long, so it qualifies as more than just a driveway.
The guy behind the counter pooh-poohed the whole idea. “Just write a name on a piece of cardboard and stick it on a pole,” he said. He dismissed the need for a name.
Today we got a phone call from our plan-drawer/contractor saying that we have to hustle down to the county planning commission right now and get our road named, pronto. It turns out that unless you are on a named road, the county can’t assign a street number. And without a street number, they can’t file with the fire department, and without that, we’re toast.
Getting the road name through the approval process takes a minimum of three weeks. We have to contact the people who own the land through which the road passes to get their agreement on the road’s name. We chose the name Winter Ranch Road long ago, a name suggested by Karla’s mom, Adeline. Adeline was the best namer of things and horses and animals I have ever known. The only question we ever had about the road’s name was how to spell it. Should it be one word, Winterranch or Winteranch, and with two “r’s” or one? I decided to keep it at two words so there wouldn’t be any question about spelling. (Spelling our town’s name, Ahwahnee, over the phone is grief enough.)
Tomorrow morning Karla and I will hit the road to Madera with our proposal. We have already contacted the two neighbors affected by the name and don’t expect any big hassle with them. But adding three weeks to the process of waiting to start to build a house is giving me a hint of the potential delays and hassles in dealing with county bureaucrats.
Wish us luck.