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Germantown follows Collierville, Lakeland, seeks exemption from Postal Service policy

Commercial Appeal Memphis logo Commercial Appeal Memphis 2/11/2020 Corinne S Kennedy, Memphis Commercial Appeal
a sign on the side of a building: A long row of cluster mailboxes can be seen near the Yona mayor's office on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. © Rick Cruz/PDN A long row of cluster mailboxes can be seen near the Yona mayor's office on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.

Germantown is seeking an exemption to a U.S. Postal Service directive that would require cluster mailboxes at any new housing subdivisions. The USPS has said its new mail delivery guidelines are intended to improve the efficiency of mail and package delivery.

The resolution was unanimously approved at a board of mayor and aldermen meeting Monday. Collierville and Lakeland approved similar resolutions in December. 

Previously:Cluster mailboxes in Collierville? Town says no thanks, seeks exemption to Postal Service policy

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More:Lakeland follows Collierville, asks US Postal Service for cluster mailbox exemption

Germantown officials said there were fewer than 1,424 acres of residential-zoned land left for development in the residential suburb, which is dominated by single-family homes. City staff argued that requiring cluster mailboxes for future homes built on that land — as opposed to the more than 10,000 acres of existing single-family homes — would not do much to improve efficiency. 

Collierville and Lakeland approved similar resolutions asking for an exemption to the cluster mailbox rule in December. © Associated Press file Collierville and Lakeland approved similar resolutions asking for an exemption to the cluster mailbox rule in December.

The item was moved from the regular agenda to the consent agenda, so there was no discussion before the vote. 

City officials also pointed out that the maintenance costs of centrally-located cluster mailboxes would necessitate homeowners associations at any new subdivisions to collect funds for that upkeep. 

The Postal Service had previously said that centralizing mail delivery points was the “most efficient, cost-effective and safest method of providing delivery service to its customers.”

“At roughly $30 billion annually, delivering mail to nearly 159 million delivery points in the nation is the largest component of postal expenses and does not change for the most part year-to-year, even taking into account changes in mail volume,” post office spokesperson Kimberly Frum said in an email. 

The resolution will be delivered to the Postal Service, U.S. Rep. David Kustoff and Tennessee Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander. 

Kustoff has previously said he had heard from many West Tennessee residents concerned about the Postal Service’s policies and wanted to find a solution “to ensure that folks in West Tennessee can receive their mail in a timely manner.”

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Kustoff has singed onto the Easy Access to Mail Act, which was introduced into Congress last year by Rep. Tim Burchett of Knoxville. The bill would prevent the USPS from retroactively requiring homebuilders to put cluster mailboxes in their developments and was referred to the House committee on oversight and reform in April. No action has been taken on it since then. 

Corinne Kennedy is a reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached via email at Corinne.Kennedy@CommercialAppeal.com or on Twitter @CorinneSKennedy

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Germantown follows Collierville, Lakeland, seeks exemption from Postal Service policy

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