Rep. Lee Zeldin at the Riverhead firehouse for a mobile office hours session in January 2018. File photo: Katie Blasl

A bill that would assign a new, unique zip code to the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton was re-introduced today in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The three hamlets in the northwest corner of the Town of Southampton, just south of Riverhead Town, currently share the 11901 zip code with Riverhead hamlet and rural routes in Aquebogue and Jamesport.

There are 18 identical street names and 32 similar street names – and possibly more – shared between the three Southampton hamlets and the Town of Riverhead, according to research done by residents, Zeldin said.

“This causes a number of issues in the local community and makes things very confusing for postal carriers, which leads to mail and packages being delivered to the wrong address, and sometimes even being routed as far away as Flanders, New Jersey,” Zeldin said in a press release tonight. Sometimes packages can’t be delivered and are marked “return to sender” or “address unknown.”

“While the delay of deliveries caused by sharing a zip code is a nuisance and heavily impacts residents’ quality of life, above all else, it is a safety hazard,” Zeldin said. “These packages can hold important goods like medications, which are critical for a person’s health and well-being. They can also cause major problems for police, first responders, and other emergency personnel, who may arrive at the wrong address due to these shared street names with the same zip code. These kinds of mistakes can be avoided, and these problems can be alleviated by assigning a new and unique zip code to Flanders, Riverside and Northampton.”

The House passed this legislation unanimously in the last Congress as part of a bigger bill H.R. 6303 — but it died in committee in the Senate.

Residents of the Flanders-Riverside-Northampton communities, who at one time sought a separate post office to serve the communities, have been seeking a new zip code for years.

Zeldin first petitioned the U.S. Postal Service to assign a new zip code for the three hamlets in 2015. The USPS regional district manager denied the request. Zeldin appealed the denial, but the agency was “unresponsive” and the congressman sought to effect the change by legislation.

“Receiving calls from lost guests or delivery men are an inconvenience experienced by many residents of the area, but having life saving medicine delivered to the right address in the wrong town is a far more serious matter,” said Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association president Vince Taldone. “I am grateful that Congressman Zeldin has recognized the danger to community members that this long unresolved zip code matter causes,” he said.

Zeldin’s efforts are supported by State Senator Ken LaValle, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo and town officials.

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