The hamlets of Riverside, Northampton and Flanders could be getting their own zip codes — though not their own post offices — if a request being prepared by Rep. Lee Zeldin’s office is approved by the U.S. Postal Service. Currently, the trio of hamlets south of the Peconic River all share the 11901 Riverhead zip code.
The request started with the Flanders-Riverside-Northampton Civic Association, which has worked to garner support from Southampton Town as well as state and county officials, according to Mark Woolley, the congressman’s district director.
“All of that has now come to the congressman. We’re getting some additional data and finalizing a letter to the postmaster general,” Woolley told a meeting of civic leaders convened by Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter Monday evening.
Sandy Adams, representing the Riverhaven and Lakewood communities, asked for Riverhead Town’s support. The supervisor loved the idea and said he’d gladly write a letter of support and ask the town board to sign on.
There are about 40 addresses located on the south side of the river, in Southampton Town, that duplicate addresses on the north side, in Riverhead Town, Adams said. Mail delivery gets mixed up and delayed and homeowners deal with insurance issues as well, because of the duplication.
“It’s a total of 80-some-odd similar or identical addresses,” Woolley noted.
The request will be made to assign new zip codes 11902 to Flanders, 11903 to Riverside and 11904 to Northampton, he said.
There will be no request for a new post office, something that’s been discussed from time to time by area residents and is advocated by the Riverside Rediscovered initiative. The U.S. Postal Service has been running multi-billion dollar deficits for eight consecutive years and isn’t eager to make large capital investments.
But their own zip codes, even without post office facilities, will help foster community identity, advocates for the move say.
“We desire a geographic identity in order to avoid township confusion. Outsiders and locals often think that we are part of the township of Riverhead. Having a zip code will help shape our geographic identity and sense of place,” Riverside Rediscovered says on its website.
The desire for community identity isn’t enough for a new zip code, according to the USPS Postal Operations Manual, which states: “The Postal Service will not assign ZIP Codes solely to provide community identity.” The manual spells out the requirements a zip code split or change. They include a minimum of 50 delivery routes and 25,000 “delivery points.” The agency is supposed to forecast five-year and 20-year growth projections for each postal district and the district manager — Long Island is one postal district — will take those projections into account when deciding zip code split or change requests, according to the policy manual.
Citing its current fiscal woes, the USPS has in recent years denied requests for zip code splits even without new post office construction, if the split will increase expenses.
Mail for 11902, 11903 and 11904 would still be sorted and delivered by the Riverhead Post Office if the proposal is approved.
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