For nearly 15 years, with no success, residents in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton have campaigned for their hamlets to receive separate zip codes.
“We were told we needed infrastructure,” or specifically, a new post office, to have a new zip code, Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera said.
But after speaking with Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Mastic), Ms. Scalera said they discovered that to be untrue.
Mr. Zeldin announced at a press conference in Flanders Wednesday that he will send a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General asking for not one but three new codes: 11902 for Flanders; 11903 for Riverside and 11904 for Northampton.
Currently all three hamlets have the same 11901 zip code as Riverhead, although they are part of Southampton Town. Mr. Zeldin said mail would continue to be sorted at the Riverhead Post Office under the proposal.
There are a number of problems that can result from having the same zip code as Riverhead, Mr. Zeldin and others said Wednesday.
Research initiated by residents show that there are 18 roads in three hamlets with the identical street names and zip codes as roads in Riverhead Town, and 32 more roads with similar street names as those in Riverhead Town.
“This causes a number of issues in the local community and makes things very confusing to postal carriers, which leads to mail and packages being delivered to the wrong address,” Mr. Zeldin said. Some of packages aren’t able to be delivered and get marked “return to sender” or “address unknown,” he said.
This can be an inconvenience when packages aren’t delivered, but it can also have serious consequences if the package contains medication, he said.
Another problem occurs when emergency service responders go to the wrong address due to shared street names, he said.
“These kinds of mistakes can be avoided and all of these problems can simply be alleviated by assigning new and unique zip codes to Flanders, Riverside and Northampton,” Mr. Zeldin said.
Unique zip codes can help mold an identity for the three hamlets, said Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Hampton Bays), who said this was one of the issues being discussed when he was first elected 12 years ago.
Establishing separate zip codes has been an issue discussed in the current efforts to revitalize the Riverside hamlet, officials said.
“This is not just a silly matter,” said Vince Taldone, the president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association. “This is serious stuff and it really matters.”
Chris Sheldon of Northampton, who has advocated the change for many years, estimated that at least 75 million pieces of mail have been at risk of being delivered to the wrong address in the past 50 years.
A number of Southampton Town officials and residents have sent letters of support to Mr. Zeldin, which will be included in the request to the Postmaster General, who has 60 days to give a response.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter also voiced support for the effort, saying that what happens in the Southampton Town portion of the Riverhead zip often reflects on downtown Riverhead.
The zip codes would use the hamlet boundaries as determined by Southampton Town a few years ago.
Photo Caption: Congressman Lee Zeldin spoke at a news conference Wednesday morning to announce a plan for three hamlets to receive unique zip codes. (Credit: Tim Gannon)