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Postal service wants change in mail delivery for North Huntingdon developments

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Cluster mailboxes, such as this one at the Walton’s Crossing housing plan in Penn Township, are recommended for future housing developments built in North Huntingdon.
Cluster mailboxes, such as this one at the Walton’s Crossing housing plan in Penn Township, are recommended for future housing developments built in North Huntingdon.

Future housing developments in North Huntingdon might see a change in mail delivery.

Township senior planner Ryan Fonzi said the U.S. Postal Service prefers delivering mail to communal postal boxes, known as cluster boxes, instead of individual mailboxes at each home.

While cluster mailboxes have not been part of any recent housing developments in North Huntingdon, township officials and developers should plan to include the boxes into housing plan designs, he said.

The U.S. Postal Service wants cluster mailboxes installed in all new developments, said Tad Kelley, spokesman for the Western Pennsylvania division.

“Centralized delivery is the most efficient, cost-effective, and safe mode of delivery,” Kelley said.

“It provides a cost reduction in an environment where the Postal Service continues to reduce its costs as revenues decline, due to a decreased usage of first-class mail.”

Although the Postal Service wants cluster mailboxes installed in new developments, officials will consider the circumstances before making a final decision, Kelly said.

Postal Service officials began making the installation of cluster mailboxes a priority recently, as a cost-cutting measure, due to the agency's decline in revenue, Kelley added.

Each box would be located in a central location and feature about 16 mailboxes, along with two or three compartments for packages on a concrete pad, Fonzi said.

Officials also would have to determine who would be responsible for shoveling snow and maintaining landscaping, Fonzi said.

The postal service approached township officials and developers about installing the boxes during the development of the recent Kingsbury and Hampton Heights housing plans but did not require them, Fonzi said.

Cluster boxes could lead to problems, such as traffic congestion, said planning commission member Stephen Cross.

“I think these are absolute nonsense,” Cross said. “I can't imagine a single citizen in this township, or anywhere, saying, ‘Oh yeah, I like that, it's a good idea.'”

Cluster mailboxes have been met with positive reviews in other communities, Kelley said.

“Many residents have spoken highly of them, and appreciate the security they bring, and the easy access (to their mail),” he said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or

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