Rep. Lee Zeldin on Aug. 19, 2015 announced his formal request for new zip codes for Flanders, Riverside and Northampton. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Rep. Lee Zeldin today announced he is formally requesting the U.S. Postmaster General to assign new zip codes to Flanders, Riverside and Northampton.

Zeldin said he has written a letter to the the postmaster general asking for the new zip codes, citing the confusion that arises because of duplication or close similarity in street names within the existing 11901 zip code, which takes in Riverside as well as the three hamlets in northwestern Southampton Town.

No new postal facility would be built. The new zip codes would be handled by the Riverhead post office.

Zeldin made the announcement at a press conference this morning at the Crohan Community Center in Riverside, where he was joined by Southampton council members Brad Bender, Christine Scalera and Stan Glinka, as well as County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and civic and community leaders who have been seeking a new zip code for years.

There are 18 identical street names and 32 similar street names, possibly more, within the current zip code, Zeldin said. The resulting confusion means incorrect delivery of mail and packages — sometimes pacakages containing medications — as well as emergency workers sometimes responding to the wrong address, he said.

Zeldin asked the postmaster to consider assigning the new zip codes 11902 for Flanders, 11903 for Riverside, and 11904 for Northampton. The postmaster should give an answer to the request within 60 days, Zeldin said.

“This community has waited far too long,” Zeldin said.

The request is supported by State Sen. Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, according to a press release issued by Zeldin’s office today.

Elected officials and civic leaders praised Zeldin for his efforts. They said they were unaware a new zip code might be assigned without a new post office being built until Zeldin suggested it.

All agreed that the new zip codes would help with a problem Walter described as “an identity crisis.”

“It’s a great first step,” Bender said, to solving that identity crisis.

Scalera agreed. “Flanders, Riverside and Northampton are a vital part of the Town of Southampton,” Scalera said.

“There can be no greater thing for the prosperity of downtown Riverhead than the revitalization across the river,” Walter said.

Chris Sheldon, who has been advocating for the new zip codes, said he did the arithmetic and calculated that, over the past 50 years, “at least 75 million pieces of mail have been at risk due to zip code confusion.”

“If he pulls this off, I have a new nickname for him,” Sheldon said, referring to the congressman, “Zip Zip Zeldin.”

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.