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WELCOME TO WORLD OF STREET-NAMING

In a 1987 interview, the Irish rocker Bono tried to explain why he wrote U2's Where The Streets Have No Name.

Turns out that in Belfast, for so long a symbol of everything that had gone wrong in Northern Ireland, it's possible to tell not just someone's income level, but also their religion, by the name of the street where they live.

Here in Pasco County, things are a little different.

For one thing, we haven't had nearly as much sectarian violence. We have some problems with gopher tortoises and water shortages, but that hasn't led to armed militias (yet).

For another, the street of your subdivision probably isn't that old. At least, not old enough to lay claim to the symbolism of ancient grievances.

In Pasco, the inspiration for street names comes from more, well, pedestrian places.

A subdivision's design theme, for example. Or maybe a memorable trip the developer took recently. Or the developer might have a wife he can't refuse.

Naming the streets of a new subdivision isn't always a developer's favorite task or priority.

Lexington Homes president Craig Gallagher says he never got the taste for it. He leaves it to one of his friends and partners, David Williams.

Ron Roberts, vice president of Flagship Development, says the work is often assigned to someone fresh out of college, the lowest minion in the development company's totem pole.

"Grunt job," as he put it.

He was that grunt for Pulte Homes - years before he became a full-fledged developer now building the Terra Bella subdivision in Land O'Lakes.

That's why the street names in Pulte's Lexington Oaks subdivision in Wesley Chapel are all Roberts' creation.

Take a drive out there. Those street names ring a bell? Dark Star? Cannonade? Whirlaway?

Every name in Lexington Oaks is the name of a Triple Crown champion. The name "Lexington" itself borrowed that horse race theme, Roberts said.

Except for one: Lassie's Way.

"That was my childhood dog," Roberts said. "I locked that in, and it stuck."

That's a perk of naming streets, really. You get to indulge some fond memory with a piece of permanence.

"When I travel, I get inspiration from a lot of places I visit," said Alex Mourtakos, president of Southern Image Homes.

That's how Adams Morgan, the bohemian enclave in Washington, D.C., became the name of a road in Southern Image Homes' subdivision of Williamsburg Estates in New Port Richey.

Unlike Belfast, history hasn't seeped into most of our roads yet. But it turns out that developers do try to include a nod to history in their work.

In the Mediterranean-themed Terra Bella, for example, Roberts flavored street names with an Italian flair: Via Bella Boulevard, Belluno Lane, Calvano Drive.

But the main east-west road in the 205-acre development, behind their commercial tract, is called Penner Road - in honor of the guy who used to own the land.

David Williams, who's partnered with Craig Gallagher on a few developments, says his religious background was the inspiration for street names in the Reserve at Golden Acres, a gated community in New Port Richey.

That's why you see Parable Court and Living Word Court and Miracle Lane there.

You'd think some people might object, but Williams and other developers say street names don't seem to bother people so much.

"Very rarely do I get comments on street names," Williams said. "On the Christian theme, I got comments, but they were always positive."

If anything, he said, the only thing people prefer is a street name that's not too hard to spell. He raised some eyebrows after he named Pomme De Pin Lane in a Trinity community called Riviera (French-themed street names).

Russ Perlowski, a real estate agent with Exit Realty, said he's never won or lost a sale because of a street name. If anything, the neighborhood counts more: He had a buyer that adamantly wanted a home that had a Wesley Chapel rather than a Zephyrhills mailing address.

The county's only concern is that 911 services mustn't get confused when they send ambulances or cruisers out.

"We check the database to ensure there's not a duplication," said Hardoowar Singh, Pasco County's surveyor.

But the rules are not set in stone. The 911 services are split into east and west divisions. So officials can be persuaded to duplicate some common street names on either side of the county, Singh said. (There's a Crimson Lane in New Port Richey and a Crimson Lane in Zephyrhills.)

That's probably too bad for Alex Mourtakos of Southern Image Homes.

He was laying down the line on his street-naming rules when he appeared to have a change of heart.

A reporter had asked him: Ever name a street for a family member? Like, say, your wife?

"I never had the ego to name it for my wife or myself," Mourtakos said.

Almost immediately, a little exchange broke out on the other end of the phone line. A woman, his wife, Courtney, is telling him something. Sounds like she's laughing and outraged at the same time.

When Mourtakos gets back on the line, he sounds mildly apologetic.

"She gets anything she wants," he said. "So it will probably happen soon."

Good luck, Alex.

There's already a Courtney Drive in Holiday.

More street naming fun, from around Tampa bay

The street: Al Capone Road

Where is it? Carrollwood

What's the story? "It was a Halloween prank," said William Lloyd Floyd in 1996, who had lived there for nearly three decades. Some children put up a homemade sign, and the name stuck.

The street: Lumb Avenue - now called Lamb Avenue.

Where is it? Tampa

What's the story? The street was supposed to be named for Charles Lamb, a 19th century English writer, but was misspelled. It was corrected in 2003.

Bland Way, now Sunset Cove.

Where is it? Madeira Beach, in Pinellas.

What's the story? It was named for D.G. Bland, a businessman. Neighbors thought their street was too pretty to be called "bland," so it was changed in 2002.

About this column

Fed up with State Road 54? Got a point of view on road rage? Think you know the fastest or most scenic shortcut from Hudson to Land O'Lakes? The Lane Ranger is a new twice-monthly column on anything and everything to do with road issues. We focus on fast-growing central Pasco, but we're also countywide in our interests. Send your gripes, compliments, worries, tips or any other thoughts to Chuin-Wei Yap at cyap@sptimes.com or call (813) 909-4813.

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