Nancy Oates headshotNancy Oates.
Should any taxpaying Chapel Hill citizen have to suffer the indignity of a Durham mailing address? Town leaders, frustrated by their inability to annex a well-to-do neighborhood, really wanted to know at a meeting last week.
Homeowners in what's called Area 5, a neighborhood abutting town limits north of Mt. Carmel Church Rd., want to save money on fire insurance by paying 15 cents per $100 of valuation for fire district coverage without paying the full 49 cents engendered by becoming part of Chapel Hill. (The town can provide some of its basic services piecemeal to unicorporated adjacent areas upon request.) Because many of the homes in Area 5 are quite pricey, annexing the area would be cost-effective for the town but, due to new state laws, almost impossible to implement without permission from Area 5 homeowners.
Several council members – and their constituents – were incensed that town residents had to subsidize the 600-plus wealthy out-of-towners who enjoy Chapel Hill’s perks of free buses, good schools and a luxurious library. And due to postal system quirks, some Chapel Hill residents have to pay without the cachet – they live inside town limits and pay Chapel Hill’s high taxes but suffer a Durham mailing address.
So when a U.S. Postal Service rep took the podium to discuss the future of the Timberlyne branch, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt asked whether it were possible for only people who live inside town limits to have a Chapel Hill address. It's only fair, if those on the other side of the border get to have their Christmas cards addressed to The Southern Part of Heaven. The beleaguered postal rep, after sitting through nearly four and a half hours of town business, said she’d pass that concern on to her higher-ups.
Turns out nearly 20 such requests come in each year to USPS’s Greensboro district office, which covers Chapel Hill.
“While the Postal Service must be guided by concerns for service and efficiency, it does appreciate the identity and addressing concerns of local communities,” Monica Robbs, spokesperson for the USPS in North Carolina, stated in an email. “Therefore, municipal requests to modify authorized last lines of address … to provide municipal identity … will be considered, and every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate them.”
Requests from town governments, or from residents with documented endorsement by town government, must be submitted in writing to Greensboro District Manager Russell Gardner Jr., P.O. Box 27499, Greensboro, NC 27498-9600.
The revolution can begin with the lick of a stamp. TW