Collins Bill Rolls Back Postal Service Overreach, Provides Relief to Locals
WASHINGTON— Today, Congressman Collins introduced H.R. 5750, The Common Sense Postal Delivery Restoration Act of 2016. This legislation will ensure that homes and neighborhoods that were eligible to receive or were receiving mail prior to the implementation of new postal rules will still be able to receive mail to their addresses under the new rule.
Recent United States Postal Services (USPS) rules are forcing home developers to tear up already built or permitted neighborhoods in order to install centralized mailboxes, called cluster boxes, so that all the mail for the neighborhood is delivered to one location, instead of individual homes. In many cases, these developments were eligible for USPS home delivery prior to the rule change. However, USPS is now withholding mail delivery from individual mailboxes and forcing individuals to pick up their mail at the local post office until cluster boxes are installed. In many cases, the installation of these new and unplanned for cluster boxes would require developers to change plans at their own expense or even take private property from homeowners, as well as construct new sidewalks or roads.
The Common Sense Postal Delivery Restoration Act of 2016 would exempt developments that had already received the necessary permits or were under construction before the rule took effect, ensuring that residents there can receive mail to their personal mailboxes as planned. Congressman Collins issued the following statement on introducing the legislation:
“This isn’t just an issue for folks who live at the end of a long dirt road. This is an issue for people who live in suburban developments, especially newer ones,” said Congressman Collins. “When you move in to a new home, you have the right to a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer about whether the mail will be brought to your door. The Postal Service should not be able to force developers to change the layout of entire neighborhoods after developers have already received permits and started building, and the Postal Service certainly should not be in the business of implementing rules that force private land to be used at the whim of USPS rules. This rule change is particularly harmful to senior citizens and other folks who have physical limitations who may have moved into the neighborhood expecting curbside delivery. These arbitrary, last minute changes also force developers to hastily install centralized cluster boxes in places where there is no room for them. This encroaches on homeowner’s properties and forces developers to plan new sidewalks, roads, or parking spaces. The Commonsense Postal Delivery Restoration Act addresses the problem by exempting houses that were eligible for personal delivery and held the required permits and approvals for construction prior to April 5, 2012 from the new centralized mail delivery regulations. It is necessary to clarify the scope of this rule to protect private property owners from the whims of USPS.”
“After 6 years of a dead housing market, we are finally back building in many areas,” said former State Senator Chip Pearson, who is now Managing Partner at Cold River Partners, a real estate development company in Northeast Georgia. “For the USPS to not honor their prior commitment to individual mailbox delivery is a real problem. Carving out a lot and developing a mail kiosk area is very costly and disruptive to these communities still shaken from the downturn. The fact the early homeowners had street delivery and new ones now would not is inequitable and unfair. The Common Sense Postal Delivery Restoration Act of 2016 is a practical, equitable and effective solution to this issue.”
“The residents of Whispering Lake Subdivision are grateful for Congressman Doug Collins' tireless work on behalf of our community,” said Beverly and Bryson Payne, residents of Whispering Lake Subdivision in Cumming, Georgia. “The Common Sense Postal Delivery Restoration Act of 2016 is crucial for safety and accessibility for over 100 families in our neighborhood. Our subdivision was planned and approved before the 2012 postal rule changed, requiring centralized mailboxes. We received curbside delivery for the first several months we moved in, but the Post Office suspended our mail until centralized mailboxes were added to the neighborhood. There are no sidewalks, as the subdivision was approved for curbside delivery, and the location our builder had to allocate has no parking or lighting, no shelter from rain, and is a long walk with poor access for persons with disabilities and families with small children. The cost of adding sidewalks, plus parking and a shelter for the centralized boxes, is more than our homeowners association can bear. All we're asking for is to have our curbside mail delivery restored, for all existing homes in neighborhoods planned and approved before the US Postal Service changed the rules. Thank you to Congressman Collins for his efforts on behalf of homeowners in the 9th district and across the nation.”