Post Office Delivery Policy at Odds with County Codes

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County leaders are scratching their heads over how the US Post Office is handling phasing out at-home mail delivery service in new subdivisions. Our FOX 5 I-Team investigation finds quickly, thrown up community mail boxes that aren't always up to county codes. 

And that frustrates everybody - county planners, developers and homeowners. One man came home to find one of these mailbox units in his yard. Only problem is that it wasn't for his mail delivery. So, he dug it up.

"These are the existing boxes," said Dennis O'Brien pointing to the mailbox in his yard where he's has mail delivered for 20 years.

But just a few feet away, a concrete pad marks the spot where a centralized mailbox unit - or a CBU - was put in. 

"They were mounting this box right here in front of me when I came home from work one day," said the Cherokee County resident.

But it was for mail for the new houses going in across the street, so, he got a shovel and got to work.

"I moved the box from in front of me to across the street."

No one is sure what the next move is. The Post Office may still insist the units go on Dennis O'Brien's yard highlighting the confusion about just how the new mail delivery policy should work.

The cash-strapped Post Office with little fanfare changed the tradition of home delivery.  A spokesman said the Post Office sent a letter April 2012 to county leaders telling them that new subdivisions would only get mail delivered through CBUs.

We asked Jeff Watkins, the Cherokee County Community Planning director, about this letter that was sent out.

"I don't ever recall getting a letter," he told us.

Mr. Watkins said developers are now pushed to put up CBUs in communities that have no easements for mailboxes because the neighborhoods were planned before the new Post Office policy.  He showed us a prime example of what he considers a poorly planned centralized mailbox. There's no place to park. And, it's not handicap accessible.

"As you can tell, it's sitting in the right of way and our ordinances don't allow structures in the right of way."

The developer, he says, was rushed to get something up or risk these homeowners losing mail delivery all together. 

A Post Office spokesman told the FOX 5 I-Team in an email, "We have had no indication of these problems."

We reached out to James Touchton with Council for Quality Growth works with developers and county planners and asked if his group felt the federal government was transparent about this new policy.