USPS not delivering to some residents in Bonaire neighborhood
They say neither rain nor snow keeps the mail carrier from making his rounds.
But a dispute and continued confusion between a developer, builder, and the U.S. Postal Service means the mail isn't getting delivered in one Bonaire neighborhood.
Amy Chamberlin says no mail has been delivered to her family since they moved in to the Riverbend Plantation neighborhood roughly a month ago.
Her husband accepted a new job at Robins Air Force Base, so the family moved to “The Bluffs” in Riverbend.
However, you might notice something missing at the end of Amy Chamberlin's driveway.
Her home and at least two others in the neighborhood doesn't have a mailbox.
But even if they did it wouldn't matter, since the Post Office stopped delivering to her and 15 of her neighbors.
“So now I've got to take a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old to the post office and while they're dismantling the card rack, you would think they would want to bring us our mail just to avoid my children destroying their card rack, but then you're waiting in line for a long duration while you're trying to manage two kids and it is a difficult process,” Chamberlin said in her kitchen.
She said that a realtor had told them the mailbox would be installed before move-in. But then, it never was since mail wasn’t going to be delivered to it anyway.
She expressed frustration that the problem had continued for as long as it had, saying some of her neighbors have lived on their street for months without curbside mail delivery.
She told WMAZ it could add a half an hour to an hour to her errands to run to the Bonaire Post Office with her two kids in tow, especially if lines were long. She says neighbors have had similar experiences with long lines at the office.
The Southern Area office of the Postal Service told WMAZ in a statement they're simply implementing a policy that has been in place since April of 2012.
Unless developers install a cluster box for new residential developments, residents will have to pick up their mail at the local post office, the statement says.
But Riverbend's developer says it doesn't make sense that the USPS is enforcing this policy now. He says his development has been under construction since 2005.
“It's a 375 lot development and 300 of the lots are built and occupied already, kind of coming in here at the 11th hour and changing the policy on just these few homeowners that live in the subdivision, to me, is a flawed execution of a policy,” Mark Byrd said.
Byrd also said other homes have been built in the neighborhood since April of 2012 besides Chamberlin’s and her neighbors. It wasn’t until recent months that Byrd says he started hearing that the USPS would be implementing the policy.
Byrd said it did not make sense to install the cluster boxes for the last 75 homes in the neighborhood of 375. Byrd and Chamberlin also said it threw off the design and uniformity of the neighborhood, with only some homes having mailboxes and others having cluster boxes.
But good news could be on the way for Chamberlin and her neighbors, Byrd says the builder is now getting ready to finish cluster boxes in the next 7 to 10 days.
He says that comes after months of delays due to attempted negotiations with the USPS to continue curbside service and confusion over the regulations for the boxes.
Byrd said the builder had attempted installing a box before, but it had to be removed after the Postal Service said it did not meet regulations.
But now he says it looks like the last 75 homes in this neighborhood will have to use cluster boxes even after hoping Riverbend would be grandfathered-in under the old policy.
Chamberlin says she understands the USPS’ attempt to save time and money, but told WMAZ that if they are already delivering to 300 homes in the neighborhood they should be able to come to the rest.
This is the complete statement WMAZ received from the U.S. Postal Service Southern Area Corporate Communications office about Riverbend:
“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 regulations to specify that all new residential delivery points are required to have centralized delivery (communal mailboxes) established in the planning stages of a new development. Local postal officials in Bonaire, GA, along with district postal management, have met previously with developers in this area and will continue to work closely with them to ensure postal customers receive timely, secure and dependable mail service, within existing USPS regulations. Until such time as centralized delivery is established, customers can continue to pick up their mail at the Bonaire Post Office, located at 604 Georgia Highway 247 S, Bonaire, GA 31005. Hours of operation at the Bonaire Post Office are: Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Sat 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.”