Street Naming Plan-link Q and A
Question: "Our town is nearing approval of a new development and at the next meeting we will discuss street/development names. Are there any guidelines for naming public/private roadways?"
Answer: 231:133 Names; Changes; SignsI. In all towns, cities, and those village districts which maintain public highways, every highway and street under the control of the town, city, or village district shall have a name which shall be given it by the governing body. Said name shall be legibly marked on a suitable signboard or other marker and placed in at least 2 conspicuous places on said street. The governing body may change the name of any such street or highway at any time when in its judgment there is occasion for so doing. The governing body may change the name of a private street or highway when the name change is necessary to conform to the requirements of the enhanced 911 telecommunications system. In towns and village districts the governing body may at its discretion provide for public hearing and submit such names for approval at any meeting of the legislative body, and voters may submit a petitioned warrant article for such a name change under the procedure of RSA 39:3.
II. The naming of any new street or highway shall form a part of the return of the layout of the street or highway, or of the acceptance of any dedicated way. The municipality shall not be bound by any name previously assigned to the street or highway by any private owner, developer, or dedicator. No name for a highway or street shall be selected which is already in use, or which is confusingly similar to any such existing name, or which otherwise might delay the locating of any address in an emergency.
III. Whenever a name is assigned to any new street or highway, or a change is made in the name of any street or highway, the governing body shall make a return of the same to the town, city, or village district clerk, who shall make a record of the new name or name change, and shall forward a copy of such record to the commissioner of transportation.
Answer: Yes, but … It’s helpful to have some sort of system or protocol to follow when choosing street names. In my opinion, municipalities shouldn't be settling for streets that are named for the developer's children. They are municipal infrastructure, not monuments for the kiddies. In that vein, I really like the system that Hollis uses. When a developer is proposing the creation of a new town road, a municipal employee does research on properties in the vicinity, looking for historical names of owners or other appropriate attributes (e.g., Willoughby Lane, Iron Works Lane). The names are vetted for E911 compliance, and three options are presented to the Selectmen, who make the choice.