The Council met this week with U.S. Postal Service Atlanta District Office representatives to discuss issues for developers stemming from revised regulations regarding modes of delivery such as cluster box units (CBUs) or kiosks for new development sites. The Council is exploring avenues to allow already approved and previously platted developments to be exempt.
In April 2012, USPS revised existing regulations to give them greater autonomy in determining modes of delivery. In an attempt to “maintain a safe, reliable and efficient national Postal Service,” they have decided to enforce central modes of delivery such as cluster box units (CBUs) or kiosks for new development sites.
Council staff met with Bill Foster, Manager and RobertAnn Usher, Specialist for the Operations Programs Support for the Atlanta District Office. Their office oversees post-offices up to North Georgia, East to Alabama, and South to Thomaston. The meeting was held to gain a better and more comprehensive understanding of the postal service’s implementation of this rule. USPS staff emphasized in the meeting that developments already approved and platted will be considered “new development” if they have not yet broken ground; there will be no exemption or grandfathering for these developments. Furthermore, even if the development has broken ground in phase one of the project, as they move on to subsequent phases, it will then be considered a “new development.” While the District may approve exemptions from centralized delivery, these exemptions not be granted unless they are “common-sense;” for instance, they gave the example that a development that breaks new ground in-between two subdivision lots with already existing mailboxes will not have to install CBUs.
· Centralized and CBU delivery is now the default mode of delivery in business areas. Any exceptions to centralized or CBU delivery mode in business areas must be approved by the District. (631.2)
· For new residential delivery, CBU is now the default. Exceptions to permit curbline delivery must be approved by the District. (631.32)
· New deliveries within an existing block with an established mode of delivery no longer assume the existing mode of delivery. We can require a more efficient mode of delivery (sidewalk delivery, for example). (631.41)
· While we do not control addresses for buildings, we do control the sequential ordering of addresses within any centralized delivery equipment. (631.442)
· If more than one building in a complex has the same street address, the delivery equipment must be grouped at a single location even if some of the units are in a different building. (631.452)
· Centralized delivery or CBU is the default option for delivery in mobile homes or trailer parks that are permanent residences. Any exceptions to centralized or CBU delivery mode must be approved by the District (631.462b)
· For dormitories and residence halls not directly affiliated with colleges, the Postal Service determines the mode of delivery and can require the property owner to accept mail for all the tenants. We will not distribute mail into centralized delivery equipment. (631.52)
· Delivery equipment must conform with the USPS standards for CBUs and high-rise delivery equipment, USPS STD 4C wall mounted mail receptacles. Local offices do not have the authority to approve any other centralized delivery equipment. (631.441)
· When obsolete delivery equipment is replaced in multi-unit buildings, it must be replaced with equipment that meets current standards. (632.621) The USPS standards include options for parcel lockers that we should ensure are provided.
In the meeting, USPS noted that before developers have their projects zoned or approved, they must submit their plans to RobertAnn Usher or Bill Foster with Operations Programs Support in order to ensure there are plans for centralized delivery. No mail delivery service will be granted otherwise. USPS staff works with developers to determine what the best mode of delivery is for the area prior to establishing or extending delivery service. This will include review of site plans and consideration of lot size and locations of housing relative to existing delivery infrastructure and to customer travel. According to Ms. Usher, this new requirement in the Atlanta District and all counties and cities are to comply with the new submission requirements.
The new USPS rule creates a major issue for developers around the region, especially for those who have already been approved and platted prior to enforcement of the regulations. The Council is currently exploring various avenues to allow these developments to be exempt from this requirement. We are also working with Community Development Directors and Planning Directors throughout the Region in order to properly communicate this information to the development community.
We would like to form a Council Working Group to assist the Council and the Region’s planning directors in order to work this issue. If you would be willing to serve, please contact James Touchton at email@example.com. Any feedback is welcome as we will be working in the next few months to facilitate discussion between local governments and USPS.
If you are a developer who has immediate needs, contact RobertAnn Usher, Operations Support Specialist for North Metro GA, at 770-717-3478 or Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the USPS Notice, please click HERE.