Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Town changing the name of Airport Road
to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.?
Chapel Hill is a town that prides itself
as being a champion of justice and equality and a leader for reform
in those areas. A street named for Martin Luther King Jr. honors the
life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial
justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a
color-blind society, but who also led a movement that achieved
historic reforms to help make it a reality.
Who made this decision and what was the process?
The Town Council renamed Airport Road after a series of public
meetings and extensive dialogue on the proposal, which was brought
forth in January 2004. In June 2004, the Council created a Special
Committee to Consider Renaming Airport Road and to develop
recommendations for appropriate memorials to Dr. King. The committee
included members of the Council, the NAACP, residents and business
owners of Airport Road, a diverse group of citizens at large, and
persons familiar with the history of the community. A facilitator
was engaged in an intensive process that included interviews with
members of the committee, a two-day workshop and discussion session,
and a half-day follow-up session. In January 2005, the Council
approved the committee’s recommendation to rename Airport Road.
How many people will this affect?
There are more than 850 Airport Road street addresses.
What should they do to
It is the responsibility of the property
owner or resident to change all mail correspondence, magazines,
stationery, checks, business cards, signs or any other items that
use Airport Road in the street address. The best and easiest time to
notify magazines of your change of address is when you are sending a
bill payment (check the change of address box then).
When will the change take effect?
The official renaming date is May 8, 2005, which marks the 45th
anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to Chapel Hill. An Observances
Committee currently is forming to develop the logistics of
appropriate observances and ceremonies to recognize the road name
Can I change my address before May 8?
This is not recommended.
Will the numbers of my street address change?
Only the street name will change, not the numbers of individual
Will my zip code change?
Can I use MLK Blvd. as an
Do I need to file change of address forms with the post office and
myriad other agencies?
You will not be required to file a change
of address form with the U.S. Postal Service, which will be making
automatic record changes to addresses. Many utilities and public
agencies also are working with the Town of Chapel Hill to make
changes to their records. The Council’s goal is to relieve the
burden of address change notifications. Wherever possible, the Town
is working with agencies to make automatic updating possible.
Do I have to update deeds?
No, deeds are unaffected by address
changes. Deeds of trust use property and land descriptions rather
Who am I responsible for notifying?
Upon request by the Town, many utilities and governmental
agencies are able to make automatic changes to their records so that
you won’t have to complete address change forms. In addition to this
list, you also may wish to notify friends and customers, schools,
What will happen if someone sends something to my old address after
This mail will be forwarded to your new
How long will the U.S. Postal Service forward my mail?
Mail will be forwarded for a period of one
year after the effective renaming date.
Will the Town help pay me for the costs of new stationery, checks
and the like?
State law permits the expenditure of
public money for public purposes only. Direct assistance to private
entities has been found by our courts to not be an acceptable means
to affect a public purpose. However, the Town is taking steps to
reduce some of the impacts of the address change on residents and
businesses located along now-Airport Road. The Town is engaging in
a general campaign using local media, the Town’s cable channel and
the Town’s website to inform the public of the upcoming street
renaming and address changes. The Town also is seeking assistance
from various utilities and agencies to make automatic address
Do I have to notify utility companies? How about the Department of
The following companies are able to make
automatic changes to their records: OWASA, Duke Power, PSNC Energy,
BellSouth and Time Warner Cable. The Department of Motor Vehicles
requests that Airport Road address holders complete a change of
address form. This form will automatically update addresses on
Driver’s Licenses and Vehicle Registrations. By completing this
card, you will not be required to apply for a new license until it
Will delivery companies such as UPS, Federal Express and others
be able to find me?
Yes, these delivery companies have been notified of the street
renaming and will update their records.
Will 911 responders be able
to locate me in the event of an emergency?
Yes, the Emergency Response System of
Orange County will be updated to reflect the address change.
Will any portion of the
street remain Airport Road?
Airport Road extends nearly four miles
from its intersection with North Street in downtown Chapel Hill to
its intersection with the I-40 ramps at the northern Town limits.
This entire portion will be renamed Martin Luther King, Jr.
Boulevard. The Town will replace the Airport Road street name signs
and will also add supplemental signs with the designation “Historic
Will the new Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. affect a section of
No. However, the Council decided that, because Town Hall has
entrances on both Airport Road and Columbia Street, it would be
appropriate change the Town Hall address from Columbia Street to
Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard so that it would be included with
the renaming issues that so many residents and businesses will be
undergoing this spring. The Council felt that it would be fitting
for the hub of local government in Chapel Hill to have a Martin
Luther King Jr. Boulevard address. Town Hall embodies the community
forum where people come together to consider the pressing issues of
the day, and work to find understanding, consensus and cooperation.
Which departments in Town government will have new addresses?
Many of the departments to undergo an address change are those
located in Town Hall, which will become 405 Martin Luther King Jr.
Blvd. These departments are the Mayor and Council, Town Manager,
Town Clerk, Engineering, Finance, Human Resources, Information
Technology, Planning and Inspections. Other Town departments that
will change addresses are Fire Station No. 1 at 401 Martin Luther
King Jr. Blvd., Police Department at 828 Martin Luther King Jr.
Blvd., Public Works Department at 1099 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
and Transportation Department at 1089 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
What will happen to the street
in Chapel Hill that now is named Martin Luther King Jr. Street?
The residents of the existing Martin
Luther King Jr. Street have selected "Jackie Robinson Street" as
their new street name. The renaming will be
completed in conjunction with the renaming of Airport Road so that
there will be no duplicate street names.