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Road Naming and Addressing FAQs

Question Why do I have to name my road?
Answer

The Fire Safe Ordinance requires that all roads which provide primary access to more than two properties must be named. Lanes or roads with no name are difficult to find and are easily overlooked during an emergency response. Responders are not always familiar with your area.

Question The County is not requiring that our road be named right now. Can we name it anyway?
Answer

Yes. Please contact us for the proper petition forms. A majority of the property owners who use the road for their primary access or have property bordering the road, must sign the petition form agreeing to the road naming and the stated choices for the name.

Question Why do I have to change my address?
Answer

Your new address will make it easier for fire, emergency medical services, and law enforcement personnel to find your home quickly. Additionally, delivery and service providers will be able to find your address. Your old address was either out of sequence, or on a road which did not have a name.

Question Will my mail box be moved onto my newly named road, or will it stay where it is, at the end of the lane on the primary road?
Answer

The mail boxes will stay where they are now. Mail delivery routes and the location of mail boxes are determined by the US Postal Service. If you want to change the location of your mailbox, you must contact your local Postmaster.

Question What happens to mail with my old address on it?
Answer

We will notify your local post office of your new address. The postal delivery system will cross reference your old address to your new address. For best service, either complete a Change of Address Packet available by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS or use the USPS web site to submit change of address online.

Question

When do I begin using my new address?

Answer

You may begin using your new address as soon as you receive the official notification letter from PRMD. It may be a few months before businesses and government agencies get their records updated. If anyone questions your new address, you may provide them with a copy of the official notification letter.

Question Do I have to put my new numbers on my house and my driveway?
Answer

Yes. The new address numbers must be posted where your driveway meets the road and must be visible from both directions of travel on that road. You must also put your address numbers on your house in a place where they will be visible from the road or from your primary driveway. The numbers must be reflective, must contrast with their background, and they must be at least four inches tall. Don't forget to change the numbers on your mailbox. Call PRMD to obtain a complete listing of County specifications.

Question Now that my road it is going to have a name, will it be a public road - not private?
Answer No. If the road was private, it will remain private.
Question After my road is named, will the county begin maintaining it?
Answer No. Your access road remains private property.
Question Who puts up the new road name sign?
Answer

If the owners and users of the road petitioned the County for an official road name, then they are collectively responsible for purchasing, installing, and maintaining an approved road name sign. Call PRMD to obtain County road sign specifications.

If one property owner was required to submit a Road Name Application, that owner has the primary responsibility for the initial installation of the sign. All owners and users of the road share responsibility for its maintenance. Call PRMD to obtain County road sign specifications.

Question There was a road name sign on my road, but it was stolen. What happens now?
Answer

For private roads, all the property owners along the road are collectively responsible for maintaining, or replacing, the sign, just as they are responsible for roadbed maintenance. Together, you must replace the sign.

For County maintained roads, call Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works Department at 565-2231.

Question Will the title to my property be affected by the address change?
Answer

No. An address is not part of the legal description of your property. The legal description is contained in the deed and in the Preliminary Title Report you obtained prior to purchase.

Question Do I have to notify my lender about this new address?
Answer

Yes. You should notify your mortgage holder, property insurer, other creditors, issuers of other types of insurance (life, health, personal property, etc), in addition to service providers and any others with whom you do business.

Question

Attached to the letter that informed me of my new address was a "Change of Mailing Address" for the County Property Tax Assessor. Why do I have to fill out a form if you've already notified the Assessor of my address change like it said in the letter?

Answer

We will notify the Assessor that the street address of your property has changed. Only you, or your authorized agent, are authorized to notify the Assessor of a mailing address change. This is to ensure that your property tax bill is mailed to the correct address. Your mailing address may be different than the property address if you own more than one property or use a post office box. Remember, you are responsible for paying your taxes by the due date even if you do not receive a bill.

Question My vacant parcel has never had an address. How do I get one?
Answer

Draw a sketch of your property showing all the boundary lines and the way you get on to it. Draw and label the nearest named road and all other roads between that named road and your property access. Find your Assessor's Parcel Number (listed as Fee Parcel Number) on your most recent tax bill. Bring that number and the sketch to PRMD and ask to see a Permit Specialist. Alternately, you may call and ask to speak with a Permit Specialist and then fax the sketch to the fax number you will be given.

Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website, users are advised to contact appropriate Permit Sonoma staff before making project decisions. This may involve contacting more than one section within Permit Sonoma(e.g. Building, Plan Check, Zoning, Well & Septic, etc.) since each section implements specific codes or ordinances which may affect your project.
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Permit and Resource Management Department County of Sonoma