Cluster Mailboxes

U.S. Postal Service Should Continue Curbside Delivery

Mail delivery is a basic function of the federal government, specifically authorized by Congress in the Constitution, and Americans value the dependable delivery of their mail.

Unfortunately, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has seen reduced revenues in recent decades because of competition with private express carriers, innovations in delivery services, and dramatically oscillating fuel prices.

Cluster mailboxes in a communityIn an effort to reduce delivery costs, the USPS in 2012 revised the Postal Operations Manual (POM) regarding mode of delivery, giving it autonomy to determine how deliveries to new addresses will be made. The USPS has chosen to move away from sidewalk and curbside delivery to delivery only to centralized Cluster Box Units (CBUs), Parcel Lockers, or centralized, wall-mounted mail boxes in new residential developments.

Centralized delivery may require developers to incur increased costs in the form of land to be used for the units themselves, as well as for access and parking, and possibly other safety and security features, none of which will be provided by the USPS. And centralized delivery can be particularly problematic for projects that are already underway.

In many cases the USPS has failed to adequately notify developers, engineers, surveyors, planning and zoning administrators, homeowners, or homeowners associations of this change in policy, thus necessitating the redesign of subdivisions that have already been approved or are under construction.

There has been inconsistent and uneven application of the POM by local postmasters or district designees and the POM does not provide adequate guidance as to when alternative delivery modes may be approved.

The POM also fails to address who has the responsibility to maintain centralized delivery structures and under what circumstances.

NAHB urges the USPS to maintain the option of curbside or sidewalk delivery in new residential developments. And NAHB actively opposes any effort by the USPS to mandate cluster mailbox delivery as the “preferred” method of delivery in new residential developments.

NAHB is encouraging the USPS to recognize that the various modes of delivery contained in the current Postal Operations Manual are valid for use by developers and builders.

When cluster mailbox units are installed, NAHB is asking the USPS to provide for the maintenance of the units and assume all liability associated with such installation and maintenance.

For more information, contact Alex Strong at 800-368-5242 x8279.