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Zeldin appeals after new ZIP codes rejected for three hamlets

10/22/2015 5:24 PM |

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Congressman Lee Zeldin is filing an appeal of the U.S. Postal Service’s recent rejection of a plan to create new ZIP codes for the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton areas, claiming the rejection was the result of an “incomplete analysis” by the Postal Service.

The rejection came just over two weeks after a press conference was held in mid-August calling for new ZIP codes for the hamlets in Southampton Town that are looped into Riverhead Town’s post office.

Residents say there are many streets with the same names in the two hamlets, and that this creates confusion for deliveries and for emergency service response. Locals have sought a separate ZIP code for the Southampton Town portion of 11901 for about 15 years and in August, Mr. Zeldin wrote to the U.S. Postmaster General asking for the creation of three new codes: 11902 for Flanders, 11903 for Riverside and 11904 for Northampton.

Word of the Postal Service’s rejection of that proposal came in the form of a Sept. 4 letter from Elvin Mercado, the Long Island District Manager for the Postal Service, to Mr. Zeldin. RiverheadLocal first reported the news of the rejection on Thursday morning.

“Riverhead does not fall into the criteria of where a new ZIP code would be necessary,” Mr. Mercado wrote.

In terms of number of routes, street deliveries and the percent of the sectors that are currently used, Riverhead failed to meet the threshold to warrant splitting the ZIP, he wrote

However, it would be okay to address mail to Flanders 11901, since Flanders is already in the Postal Service’s Address Management System database of acceptable names, Mr. Mercado wrote. The town would need to submit the postal service with a list of streets that fall within the boundaries of Flanders, and in turn, the Postal Service would change all customers in that area to Flanders 11901.

This could not be done with Riverside and Northampton, he wrote. There are already four places named Riverhead and two named Northampton in New York state, he wrote.

The Postal Service also disputed Mr. Zeldin’s contention that there are 18 duplicate streets in the 11901 ZIP. Mr. Mercado said there are only five.

On Oct. 13, Mr. Zeldin (R-Shirley) filed an appeal to the decision.

The Congressman, in his appeal letter, said the contention that there’s only five duplicate street names in the 11901 ZIP is the result of a “rushed and incomplete” analysis.

He listed nine duplicate street names in the 11901 ZIP within Southampton and Riverhead towns, and 14 more similar sounding street names.

A listing provided by Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera put the total number of duplicate or similar street names shared between the 11901 ZIP in the two towns at 50 streets, Mr. Zeldin wrote.

In addition to lost packages, some of which include sensitive packages such as medications for seniors, Mr. Zeldin stated that “chief among these concerns is the inability of local emergency services to timely make it to their intended destination. When first responders cannot reach a patient due to problems locating the address, there is a high risk lives may be lost.”

The new zips have been backed by local civic leaders for years.

“This is not just a silly matter,” said Vince Taldone, president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association earlier this year.

The Congressman also stated in his appeal letter that if the decision was rejected based on the number of residents in the three hamlets, there are already a number of areas that have their own ZIP code and have fewer people that Riverhead, Flanders, Riverside and Northampton.

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