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Flanders 11902 zip code? Key official says ‘I like our odds’

09/18/2016 9:00 AM |

Zip Code Big Duck

The federal bill to create a 11902 zip code for the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton is contained within a much larger postal reform bill that could come up for a vote in Congress in November or December, according to Congressman Jason Chaffetz, the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The bill was unanimously voted out of that committee, he said, but has yet to come before the full House.

The U.S. Postal Service comes under the jurisdiction of that committee, Mr. Chaffetz (R-Utah) said on Saturday at a meeting with some Flanders, Riverside and Northampton residents.

He was joined by East End Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who has been pushing for the new zip code.

“I know how important this issue is to you and I think it’s good that all of your shed some insight today into why this issue is so important,” Mr. Zeldin said at the “roundtable” meeting, which was set up outside the Big Duck.

“I can’t promise that it will happen this year, but I can promise we will work as hard as we can to get it done,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “And I am the chairman, so I like our odds.”

The Postal Reform Act of 2016, as it’s called, is a big bill that includes a lot more than the 11902 zip, which is just a small portion of the bill, Mr. Caffetz said.

“There’s a lot of reform that has to happen within the Postal Service,” he told the group on Saturday. There are three other requests for new zip codes in the bill “but they don’t have nearly the background and commitment yours does. That’s why it’s right at the top of the list.”

Residents of the three hamlets say they’ve been trying to get a separate zip code for at least 16 years.

“I’ve gone through three congressmen who have promised us we were going to get the zip code,” said Flanders resident Carl Iacone. “They promised at lot, but we never got it.”

Residents say there are 18 roads in three hamlets with the identical street name and zip code as roads in Riverhead Town, and 32 more roads with similar street names as those in Riverhead Town.

That can lead to things like fire or police going to the wrong house, packages, including medication, going to the wrong house, or visitors or guests going to the wrong location, residents said.

“I have been the victim of having my medications going somewhere else, as have two or three of my friends,” said Angela Huneault of Flanders. “Also, a neighbor had a heart attack and it took longer to find the house.”

Ms. Huneault, who is a liaison for the Riverside Rediscovered efforts to revive Riverhead, said of residents’ support for the new zip code, “This is the No. 1 thing that comes into the office.”

“We want our congressman and elected officials to know how important this is to us,” said Ron Fisher, the president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association. “We want them to known how long we’ve been fighting for this and how this is a top priority for our area.”

He said the separate zip code will also allow the demographics of the area to be looked at separately from that of Riverhead, which could lead to additional grant funding.

The three hamlets are currently part of the large 11901 zip that also includes Riverhead, he said. Conversely, there are a number of areas much smaller than Flanders, Riverside and Northampton that already have a separate zip code, he said.

Vince Taldone, a former FRNCA president, said Mr. Zeldin has gotten the zip code bill further along that any of the prior East End congressman.

Mr. Chaffetz said that if the Reform bill passes, then the 11902 zip code passes. But if it doesn’t there’s still a way it could become a reality.

In that instance, there’s still a process where the Postmaster sends a mailer to everyone in the area that’s seeking the new zip code, and it would contain a survey, he said.

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