PLAINFIELD — Residents say they aren’t getting mail delivered to their mailboxes anymore and a United States Postal Service official said the issue is because their mailboxes are too low to the ground.
Peter Young said Friday he realized last week his mail was no longer being delivered on Hudson Avenue. Young said with snowstorms and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he didn’t think much of it until he noticed his mail wasn’t delivered all week.
He said Jan. 22 he received a notice from the post office stating his mailbox needed attention, but the notice didn’t say by when the issue would need to be resolved in order to keep receiving mail.
Plainfield’s mail delivery is handled by the post office in Montpelier. Young said he called the postmaster there and was told his mailbox would have to be 52 inches high in order to resume mail delivery. According to the USPS website, a mailbox must be 41 to 45 inches above the road surface.
Young said the reason he was given for needing to raise the mailbox higher than 45 inches is because the person who delivers mail to that part of town has a vehicle that is too high to reach the boxes currently.
He said he was concerned that he would have to continually adjust his mailbox height depending on the vehicle the mail carrier was using.
Young admits his mailbox sits at about 36 inches, so it’s not at the proper height. He said his is one of five mailboxes that are grouped together on the road. He said one of the five residents has already raised their own mailbox, and he’s been trying to contact the other residents to see how they want to address the issue.
Young said he didn’t know what to do next because he wasn’t comfortable raising his mailbox above the standard set by the USPS. He said he would raise it to the USPS standard, but that likely wouldn’t happen until spring.
“Part of is just the whimsicality of how it seems to be being enforced. I mean, there are people around town who I know are getting mail whose mailboxes are the same height as mine,” he said.
He said he doesn’t get much mail anyway, but others depend on mail deliveries for items such as medicine. He said he wasn’t told his mail was being held at the post office in Montpelier, and he later discovered he could pick it up there.
Young took his concerns to Plainfield People, a Facebook group where town matters are discussed, and other residents reported similar issues with their mail delivery suddenly stopping and not receiving notice.
Steve Doherty is a corporate communications specialist for USPS. Doherty said Friday there have been issues with mailboxes in Plainfield for the past few years. He said residents have been asked repeatedly to raise their mailboxes to the standard height range.
“They were asked to move it up, they didn’t move it up, but it wasn’t a problem because the carrier just worked around it and kept delivering to them anyway,” he said.
Doherty said that was no longer possible when the mail carrier started using a taller vehicle. He said the bigger vehicle was needed to carry more mail.
He said the snow can compound the issue because a mailbox that already isn’t at regulation height will be even shorter when the mail delivery vehicle is driving on packed snow.
But he said residents should have been given proper notice for when their mail delivery would cease, so there was a breakdown in communication somewhere.
He said the mailboxes don’t need to be more than 45 inches and any mailbox that is within the 41- to 45-inch range will receive mail.