SHALLOWATER, Texas – Several residents on Eighth street and Avenue U in Shallowater are stuck in the middle of a mailbox issue between their land developer and the United States Postal Service.
“I mean, most people get it delivered right in front of their house and the issue that we have is we don’t get that. We don’t get that at all,” said Dustin Ladd, a resident frustrated over the issue.
Ladd is one of the many residents who have been without a mailbox in their yard for the past year. Instead, they’ve had to pick up their mail at the post office. But a letter from the post office said that’s all changing soon.
“Now the postmaster said that we have until the end of March to get a P.O. Box or lose our mail,” said Ladd.
Avenue U residents received a letter from the United States Postal Service stating “The Postal Service will not deliver to the new construction on Avenue U until a CBU (cluster mailbox unit) is installed in a location, proposed to, and approved by, the Postal Service. Further, the Postal Service will continue to hold customer’s mail for pick-up at the Shallowater P.O. until March 31, 2023. After March 31,2023, customer mail will be returned to sender.”
Developer, Charles Hohertz said his previous development a block over in Avenue T has been able to have mailboxes in their front yard and believes that the postal office should allow new development to do the same in accordance to their Developers and Builders Guide.
In the Developers and Builders Guide, the Postal Service said “New homes built or established within a block of existing homes can only receive the same type of mail delivery service as the older, existing homes after the Postal Service has completed an operational efficiency analysis. When new delivery replaces more than 1 block. Delivery methods must comply with mode of delivery options for establishment and extension of delivery service, which is typically centralized mail service.”
Hohertz argued that his new development was a block over from Avenue U and should be allowed the same mail service. Yet the postal service stated in the letter to residents that the newly established or extended delivery points are in accordance with the Postal Operations Manual sec 631.24 which has been posted since 2018.
“It’s affecting us especially because if it comes to March and we don’t have a mailbox, all of our bills are going to be sent back. Then you look at the fact that we might have water shut off or something like that because we didn’t know we had a bill that goes directly back to the sender,” said Ladd.
Hohertz proposed an idea for several mailboxes to be lined up together on each side of the street. USPS said appeals can be sent in but are looked at and approved at in very rare exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
“I mean, it’s not that hard. You can stack one over there and we’ll all have keys, and we can go get our mail whenever we need to rather than trying to fit our time to get the mail in between the times that the post office is open. We just simply want the bare essentials that come with purchasing a house like that,” said Ladd.
For now, residents can opt for a P.O. box until the developer and USPS come to an agreement.