WINSLOW — A proposal to change the names of five streets has been delayed by Town Council.

The proposed changes are an effort by the Town Wide Safety Committee to prevent confusion among emergency responders and dispatchers, as happened last summer when police were dispatched to Murray Lane for a call originating from Marie Street.

Councilor Kenneth Fletcher said at Monday’s meeting that he has two concerns.

First, if there are two streets with similar-sounding names, the street with the fewest residents should be the one that’s changed, he said. Second, older streets should retain their names.

“I’m a firm believer in the seniority principle, particularly as I get older,” he said.

Town Manager Mike Heavener said those two criteria were considered by the safety committee.

New councilor Jerry Quiron said, however that Marie Street is older and more populated than Murray Lane, but the change was proposed for Marie Street.

And Chairman Gerald Saint Amand wondered if name changes were absolutely necessary.

“Of the tens of thousands and thousands and thousands of incidents or calls, very few problems have arisen, and in fact, only recently since they changed the communication system,” he said.

Heavener said he heard the 911 call from last summer.

“I could understand why the dispatcher … why there may have been this mix-up,” he said. “I feel if want to take that extra step, we could do so by making these changes.”

Fletcher agreed.

“If it happens once, it’s once too many,” he said.

Code Enforcement Officer Frank Stankevitz said precedent exists for avoiding confusion.

“In order to create a new street name in town, planning board requires the applicant to research the names of streets in adjoining towns so no like-named streets appear,” he said.

He also acknowledged name changes can be unpopular.

“You’re right, nobody likes it. It is a very problematic situation,” he said.

On June 6, Winslow resident Sarah Gordon called 911 to report that her husband was threatening to kill her on Marie Street.

Police, though, were dispatched to Murray Lane.

Soon after the call, Nathaniel Gordon killed her in the street outside their home. He later shot himself after being chased by state police on Interstate 95.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

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