CHESTER – A plan that has been in the works within the United States Postal Service for about a year has affected its first Chester neighborhood: to move away from mail delivery to each home within a subdivision to a group mailbox system at the entrance of the neighborhood.
The planning board brought the matter up at its Wednesday, Oct. 14 meeting, discussing informally how a group of mailboxes should be situated at the new development on Isaac Foss Road, located off Reed Road.
While those within the local post offices have suggested that a cluster box unit (CBU) would be a good choice for this centralized delivery, according to planning coordinator Andrew Hadik, this neighborhood is looking to put in a row of regular mailboxes. That idea has raised some red flags for the planning board’s members because of how it could affect the traffic flow on Reed Road.
For a little more than a year there has been a focus within the Postal Service to transition from door to door delivery (either at the door, or to a box at the curb) to centralized delivery, according to Stephen Doherty, Post Office Corporate Communications for the Northeast Area.
There’s obviously a cost savings for the Post Office, as the time it will take to deliver the mail will shrink with centralized drops, but Doherty said the change can also benefit residents. The centralized boxes allow for shared parcel lockers, leaving packages secure and out of the weather. This would also eliminate the need for residents to travel to the post office to pick up their packages if a notice is left, Doherty stated.
“Other mail is also secured against theft, protecting customers from the threat of identity theft,” said Doherty.
Mailbox theft was a concern among planning board members at last week’s meeting, members referencing the suggestion for a row of unsecured flag-style mailboxes.
But the planning board also noted that the highway department had asked for centralized boxes at the large Jenkins Farm subdivision off Haverhill Road, for ease of snow removal, another potential benefit.
While the goal is to streamline delivery through such centralized drops, the transition is optional for existing residential customers. Doherty said that new developments, however, are being asked to incorporate centralized delivery into construction plans.
Chester’s mailbox delivery is handled out of the Derry Post Office. The Chester Post Office handles Post Office Box holders among other services.
Hadik said he was waiting for more information from the Post Office before moving forward with any draft amendments to the subdivision regulations to incorporate this mail delivery procedure change.