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Red flags raised in north Forsyth over mailbox shift
Cluster setup not ready, yet service stopped
A cluster mailbox is expected to be completed in the Williams Point subdivision by late January. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

NORTH FORSYTH — Recent postal changes are causing headaches for one neighborhood in northwestern Forsyth County.

Some residents of Williams Point subdivision are upset with their current mail service, which they say stopped abruptly due to the lack of a cluster mailbox.

Resident John Kerlin, who moved there in September, was shocked when mail stopped arriving.

“I think it was a surprise to most of us,” Kerlin said. “A lot of us bought in the community, and didn’t realize that there was going to be a transition until either we had already moved in or signed the contract.

“I don’t know, even last week it was news to some folks that this change was to occur.”

According to U.S. Postal Service guidelines, all new neighborhoods are required to receive mail through cluster mailboxes. However, the cluster box in Williams Point remains under construction.

Resident Paul Johnson said no one was notified mail service would change

“It stopped on a Thursday, it started back up on a Monday or a Tuesday, but I don’t think it would have started back up had we not pushed [the post office for it],” Johnson said.

“No one notified any of the residents that it was stopping, where our mail was going, that we had to go pick it up. It just stopped.”

Since the policy is a federal issue rather than a local one, neighborhood residents have pushed for a congressional inquiry through U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

“We’ve cited some items in the postal operations manual that we feel have some validity as to why the cluster mailboxes should not be installed,” Johnson said.

Residents say they are unsure who would need to remove the existing traditional mailboxes or how emergency crews could identify houses without them.

“We think that we have a case to be able not only to help ourselves, but also help other residents of Forsyth County that may not be aware that this is the case,” Kerlin said. “It gives you pause about whether or not you want to move in or not.”

Officials from the Cumming Post office were unable to return calls on Wednesday due to the upcoming New Year’s holiday.

However, Gary Moulder with the local office has previously said the shift to cluster boxes is a cost-saving measure.

“It’s a nationwide initiative,” he said “The [Postal Service] determined that with the economic challenges … that it’s more economical for us to deliver say 30 to 100 boxes at one stop instead of stopping 30 to 100 times.”

Moulder added that the cluster boxes would be required in new neighborhoods.

“All new developments — and this started at least a year and a half ago — technically will now be a centralized delivery,” Moulder said. “Which means that everybody’s locking mailboxes will be in one spot per [on] average 30 or 40 or 50 houses.”