Post Office may strike home delivery in Chesterfield, VA to new subdivisions

By Jim McConnell - Originally Posted on 5-20-2015

The U.S. Postal Service is considering the elimination of door-to-door mail delivery in new residential communities – a cost-saving measure that could have a significant impact on local development projects currently in the planning pipeline.
The Observer obtained a memo from Jeffrey Becker, the Postal Service’s Richmond District manager, alerting local government officials to the potential change.
“Each year, new delivery addresses are added to our city, rural and contract routes, which has a major impact on our delivery costs,” Becker wrote. “To control costs, we need to ensure new residential deliveries are being made via centralized delivery.”
The cash-strapped Postal Service continues to deal with plummeting mail volume as an increasing number of Americans embrace email and electronic billing.
As recently as 2012, the agency lost $16 billion and twice defaulted on obligations to prefund retiree health care benefits totaling $11 billion.
While the Postal Service’s cost of delivering mail to a central location is about half that of door-to-door service, it’s still not clear what such a delivery method would mean for future Chesterfield homeowners.
Becker’s memo offered few specifics, other than requiring developers to identify where each mail delivery point will be located so it can be included in the project’s landscaping plans.
“When these decisions are made early, such information can be made available to the salespeople, who can inform prospective house buyers,” the memo reads. “It is almost impossible to begin the process too early to establish centralized delivery.”
Susan Pollard, spokeswoman for the county government, said last week that county staff continues to “reach out to the postal service” and seek clarity on possible changes to mail delivery in Chesterfield.
“At this point in time, we are uncertain if the program will even be implemented,” she added. “It would be premature to speculate on this issue.”
U.S. Postal Service officials failed to return calls seeking comment for this story by press time Monday.
The Observer spoke to several local developers, but none agreed to comment on the record until they have more specifics about the proposed changes.
According to Craig Toalson, chief executive of the Home Building Association of Richmond, the postal service already has begun implementation of centralized mail delivery in new subdivisions in Northern Virginia.
“We definitely have some concerns,” acknowledged Toalson, whose organization lobbies on behalf of the Richmond region’s residential development community.

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