Residents go for months without mailbox - KXXV Central Texas News Now


Residents go for months without mailbox

by Natasha Chen

KILLEEN - A group of residents living in the White Rock Estates Phase 6 subdivision have been without mailboxes since they moved in, some more than half a year ago. They're tired of fetching their mail at the post office every day, sometimes dealing with mail labeled undeliverable.

Harold Smith is one of those residents.

"I think it's very unacceptable as a citizen of the city of Killeen. My personal experience is, every day, long lines at the post office, which is very unacceptable. I think once one house goes up I think a mailbox should be put in place, no matter the circumstances. It should have been agreed upon well before they started building houses," he said.

When Smith approached the post office, he did not get much of an answer.

"They said, 'good luck, it can take up to a year to get a mailbox.' I guess that's been the norm in the city of Killeen due to the population growth."

The city has an ordinance requiring the developer of such subdivisions to provide mailboxes, but in this case, there's a discrepancy as to whether the plan for this subdivision was approved prior to the ordinance taking effect.

Gary Purser said that he submitted the plat for this subdivision in 2006, when the ordinance actually went into effect in 2007. At the time, the plan was returned to Purser and thus did not go through the approval process right away.

Purser said that he feels it should have gone to Planning and Zoning at that time.

"Now the postmaster is wanting me to pay for cluster boxes. And I don't intend to pay for them, because I don't intend to pay for mistakes that the city staff makes," Purser said.

The city planner, Tony McIlwain, said that in fact, the subdivision was approved long after the ordinance went into effect.

"That plat was actually approved last year by the city council and was recorded sometime after that. So again, what grandfathers the subdivision is having to go and tally through the approval process, and it had not done that," McIlwain said.

McIlwain added that residents of new subdivisions have encountered this problem in the past. The issue goes back three years, and he added that in these scenarios, the city only acts as a referee. He said that the real conversation should be between the U.S. Postal Service and the developer.

Purser said that for future developments, he wouldn't mind installing the boxes.

"As a developer, if I have to buy the cluster boxes in the future, I will buy them but they will be added to the price of the lot when I sell them," Purser said.

A typical unit that includes 16 boxes costs anywhere between $1,200 and $2,000 including the installation fee.

The U.S. Postal Service told News Channel 25 cluster boxes would be installed Thursday at their own cost.

A representative issued this statement:

It has recently been brought to our attention that approximately one dozen local homes do not have receptacles for their residential mail delivery. The Killeen Post Office is working now to resolve this issue and expects to have mail receptacles installed for these customers within the next few days.

"I'm sure the residents of the neighborhood would really appreciate that, whoever steps forward to accept responsibility. That would be great," Smith said.

Residents intend to meet with city representatives this Sunday at Smith's home. Gary Purser is scheduled to speak to the council regarding this issue in early February, and another resident of the subdivision is scheduled to speak at a council meeting later that month.

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