How to Petition for a Street Name Change

By Kat George ; Updated March 24, 2017

Changing a street name requires mobilization, diligence and persistence. While the exact process varies depending on location, the basic requirements are similar: You need a community petition, relevant paperwork filed with local authorities and government approval. You can check the exact requirements on your local county or city's website or by calling your local council office, but the following tasks are usually part of the process.

Get Petition Signatures From Affected Property Owners

Most local councils require a community petition. The number of signatures needed differs based on location but can be anywhere from 51 to 90 percent of affected residents. Petition signers must be directly affected by the street name change – for example, they should live on the street where the name change is sought. These residents must provide their full name, phone number, address and signature.

Explain Your Reasons

When changing a street name, it’s essential to have a reason. Changing a street name is a lengthy process with a lot of bureaucracy, so your local council will be more likely to comply if you have strong and logical reasoning. For instance, you might have good standing for changing your street name in order to honor a historic event or an iconic individual. Likewise, if you find your street name outdated, you might want to change it to reflect modern mores.

Decide on a New Street Name

It’s up to you and your fellow petitioners to suggest a new street name. Every community will have its own set of rules, but it’s more than likely your local council will not allow you to duplicate a street name within the same county. If you wish to name a street after a person, however, certain restrictions might apply. For instance, that person must have achieved prominence within the community or have been deceased for a certain amount of time.

Complete the Application Form and Pay a Fee

Most counties provide street name change application forms online, and if they don’t, you can call to request one. There will most likely be an application fee, potentially up to $2,000. Again, this differs from council to council, and can be easily determined by downloading or requesting the application form. You will lodge this form with the relevant local authority.

Know Other Potential Requirements

There’s a possibility your local council will hold a public hearing about the street name change, in order to get a better idea of community feeling, and otherwise air arguments for and against the change. Many councils will pass an ordinance without this step, but you should be prepared to attend a meeting if one is called.

Sometimes, the local council alone will grant a street name change. In some instances however, local council approval will have to be passed on to the jurisdiction of the governing city or county for final approval.