MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The U.S. Postal Service could change the look of subdivisions across the country. It's requiring developers to build "Cluster Mailboxes" rather than putting a single mailbox outside each home.
In April 2012 The U.S. Postal Service updated its guidelines to specify that centralized delivery is preferred when it comes to new developments. It's now being enforced. The Huntsville Madison County Builders Association is against the rule.
Stoneridge Homes CEO Jim Wright said there are pros and cons with the "Cluster Mailboxes". He said they would be nice for the post office, but they are an inconvenience for homeowners. He also said no one maintains the "Cluster Mailboxes".
The U.S. Postal Service released the following statement about the new rule:
“The Postal Service is continually working to identify and implement smart business strategies that allow more efficient and economical means of operation, including mail delivery. At roughly $30 billion annually, delivering mail to 156 million delivery points in the United States is the largest, single fixed-cost we incur. The Postal Service has determined that centralized delivery is the most efficient, cost-effective and safest method of providing service to our customers. The former delivery mode process that allowed residential developers to choose between curb line and cluster box delivery, for new construction, is no longer in place. In April of 2012, the Postal Service modified its guidelines to specify that centralized delivery (communal mailboxes) is the preferred mode of delivery established in the planning stages of a new development. Local postal officials in Alabama will continue working with all stakeholders, including developers and builders, to ensure a satisfactory resolution to any ongoing delivery mode issues. Our mission is to provide trusted, affordable, universal service to our customers and centralized delivery allows us to do that.” --- Debra Fetterly, USPS Spokesperson, Alabama District
The builders association argues "Cluster Mailboxes" pose a safety threat and will make it hard for the elderly and disabled to get their mail.