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Mailing addresses cause confusion for some Forsyth County residents

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County may have just one municipality, but few of its estimated 204,300 residents actually live in the city of Cumming, whose population hovers around 5,600 per recent U.S. Census figures.

That’s not the case, however, when it comes to mailing addresses, a separate designation used by the U.S. Postal Service. In fact, there are several city possibilities — depending on where one lives — including Alpharetta, Ball Ground, Dawsonville, Gainesville and Suwanee.

Each of those cities lies in a neighboring county, sometimes a significant distance away, and the resulting confusion can cause headaches for some Forsyth residents.

Take Cynthia Kloeter of north Forsyth, for example. A decades-long resident of the county, Kloeter has lived in four different homes, only one of which had a Cumming address. Her addresses have caused insurance, real estate and other issues, including one with the Georgia State Patrol.

“It was actually a traffic stop where they check the licenses” she said. “He went on to tell me I had a Forsyth County tag, but I had a Cherokee County mailing address. So I had to try to explain to this man that I lived in Forsyth County and that’s why I have this tag.”

A job search also turned into a trying experience when Kloeter had a Dawsonville address, as some employers felt she lived too far away.

“People would see a Dawsonville mailing address and say, ‘Wow, that’s really out there.’ And then I’d have to try and explain where I’m at, but that didn’t always help,” she said.

Tracie Pike, a fellow north Forsyth resident with a Gainesville address, ran into an issue Kloeter had not faced when she was summoned for jury duty in Hall County.

“I had to call Hall County’s Clerk of Courts,” she said. “… They said that it happens a lot. And in order for them to take us off their list, we have to call and tell them to. She said it was jury tampering if they just took us off [on their own].”

Hall’s clerk of courts, Charles Baker, said Forsyth residents are included in Hall County jury pools after a change in the state legislature within the last few years. As a result, they are filtered out in the process.

“Whenever they did an all-inclusive list … this was one of the issues that appeared in it,” he said. “Whenever the judges do their orientation, they ask if they’re from Hall County and, if not, they’re excused.”

The situation can also create real estate issues.

When she was selling former homes with Ball Ground and Dawsonville addresses, Kloeter noticed that home-buying websites would automatically change to the county in which the city was based. The situation persisted until she spoke with her real estate agent.

“A lot of people were also selling in my neighborhood, and they didn’t get their [agents] to change it, I did,” Kloeter said. “I ended up selling within the next month, because I had a whole bunch of showings once the people knew I was in Cumming and their kids would go to Forsyth schools.”

With her current Gainesville address, Kloeter also discovered a wrinkle in insurance rates.

“The house that we’re in now has a Gainesville mailing address,” she said. “When I got here, I found out that car insurance costs more, property insurance for the house actually costs more and they’re basing on the address.”

Gary Moulder with the Cumming Post Office noted that neighbors can — and sometimes do — have different addresses. They may not live anywhere near that particular city, but that’s where their mail originates for delivery purposes.

“The county planning and zoning office issues the zoning itself as far as the street number and the street name,” Moulder said. “Then they coordinate with us or they already know who delivers that particular section of the road.”

When delivering mail, Moulder said, it logistically often makes more sense to have another post office deliver in Forsyth.

“Let’s say a road runs through Forsyth County and continues into Dawson County,” he explained. “We have a carrier that delivers mail to the road and instead of just stopping at the county line and coming back, a lot of time post offices will agree just to let that carrier finish that road.”

Carriers from the Cumming Post Office can drive only so far “before it becomes ridiculous not to let Dawsonville or Gainesville do it, because they’re already travelling [there].”