2014-01-17 / Front Page

Postal service says no

Arundel’s request for zip code change is turned down
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — The United States Postal Service has officially denied an appeal to change the zip code in Arundel, which shares its zip code with Kennebunkport.

Town Manager Todd Shea made the formal appeal to the USPS in early October, and feedback was slowed from the beginning due to the 16-day government shutdown.

Shea received a formal response in early December; he informed the board of selectmen of the USPS’ decision at its meeting on Monday night.

“It’s all about costs,” Shea said.

According to the USPS, granting Arundel a new zip code would incur approximately $40,000 more in expenses due to route adjustments, the paperwork processed to file the change, as well as the additional costs to modify equipment at the Processing and Distribution Center.

In a letter composed by Elizabeth A. Schaefer, manager of delivery operations at the USPS, she told Shea: “Zip codes are designed to allow the efficient and effective processing and delivery of the mail. It is unfortunate that many businesses as well as other organizations and state agencies throughout the country utilize the assigned zip codes for purposes other than those originally designed.

“When possible the postal service does strive to coincide with municipal boundaries when establishing and/or extending zip codes. However, in many instances, rapidly expanding communities, facility space and operational efficiency do not allow for zip code boundaries to reflect those municipalities.”

According to the letter, the USPS recognizes approximately 1,600 addresses across five rural routes in Arundel.

Parcels and letters traveling to Arundel are delivered out of the Kennebunkport Post Office.

“All of the addresses currently have Arundel as a preferred last line in our Address Management System (AMS) file to provide community identity,” Schaefer wrote. “Due to the ongoing annual costs to the organization, the fact that community identity is already being provided and there is no operational benefit to the post office, it was determined that this zip code was not warranted.”

Talk of zip code change has been going on since the 1970s, probably sooner, Shea said at the meeting.

As far as Shea can gauge now, however, the majority of residents do not want it changed, but business owners do.

The appeal for a new zip code came on the coattails of a town-wide market and branding study by a Maryland-based firm The Chesapeake Group.

The purpose of the study, a final plan of which will be presented to the board of selectmen this month, is to help determine Arundel’s strengths and weaknesses. In the process, a clearer town identity would presumably emerge.

Moreover when searching for Arundel on a GPS, typically the satellite map will show a location in Kennebunkport.

“A member of the Economic Development Committee actually spoke with someone in the maps portion of Google,” Shea said.

Now, said Shea, a search for for Arundel on Google Maps results with a pin at the junction of Route 1 and Log Cabin Road.

“At least we’re making some difference there,” Shea said.

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