Upscale neighborhood suing US Postal Service for trying to get Ann Arbor zip code

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ANN ARBOR, MI – An upscale neighborhood in Upper Washtenaw County Township is suing the U.S. Postal Service in hopes of obtaining a postcode for Ann Arbor.

The Glennborough Homeowners Association filed its case in U.S. District Court on September 15.

For more than two decades, the subdivision has had a Ypsilanti zip code, 48198, but its residents want to be part of 48105.

The subdivision is located on Ford and Cherry Hill Roads, just east of Ann Arbor near the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Homes there have sold for between $ 776,800 and $ 918,058 on average over the past two years, according to real estate company The Bouma Group, which describes it as a prestigious 126-home subdivision with homes ranging from 2,700 to 7,500 square feet on lots one to five and half a hectare.

It is located in the Ann Arbor Public School District and is significantly closer to the Ann Arbor Post Office on Green Road than the Ypsilanti Post Office “for the purpose of picking up undelivered mail and parcels” , indicates the trial.

“The owners immediately adjacent, including the owners east of Glennborough who are further away from Ann Arbor, already have the postal code 48105, so it would not become an undue burden on the post office of Ann Arbor to serve this neighborhood that is within its current boundaries, ”the lawsuit states.

Township supervisor Ken Schwartz said the township has not taken a position, but he personally thinks the demand from residents is reasonable, mainly because it is a much shorter trip to Ann’s post office. Arbor and it’s just a matter of convenience.

“We’re cut out pretty funny,” Schwartz said, noting that the township is split between the postcodes of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Plymouth.

According to Google Maps, the neighborhood is about four miles from the Green Road Post Office in Ann Arbor, while it is about eight miles from the Ypsilanti Post Office on Adams Street and over 10 miles from the Ypsilanti Post Office on Adams Street. Ypsilanti post on Huron Street – over 14 miles if you take the Hwy.

The zip code litigation dates back to 1999 when the subdivision builder sought to change the zip code and filed a lawsuit against USPS. As part of a settlement that year, the parties agreed that the Postal Service would recognize “Superior Township, Michigan 48198” as the last authorized address line, instead of “Ypsilanti, Michigan 48198.”

The 1999 settlement also stated, “Nothing in this order shall prevent the Postal Service from considering ‘Ann Arbor, Michigan’ as the last authorized address line for Glennborough if the circumstances so warrant.”

Residents have argued for several years that the change is warranted.

The neighborhood requested a switch to 48105 in late 2015, according to a letter to the USPS contained in court documents.

“We identify with northeast Ann Arbor and are geographically distant from our current post office in Ypsilanti,” the owners association wrote in 2015, saying the land was once part of zip code 48105 from Ann Arbor when developer Richard Russell bought it in the 1990s.

“Many of us are employed in Ann Arbor, including the University of Michigan, and our children attend schools in Ann Arbor. Green Road is our nearest post office and the office we frequent for sending packages and buying stamps etc. “

USPS rejected the request in early 2016, saying zip code assignments are based on geographic area and the goal is to facilitate efficient processing of mail.

The Postal Service will not assign postal codes solely to provide community identity, and it generally does not consider a boundary change unless the current alignment negatively impacts mail processing, which does not was not the case with the Glennborough Subdivision, the USPS argued in 2016.

The neighborhood appealed. After that was denied, the neighborhood pushed the matter again and USPS responded in 2017 by saying that requests to change zip code boundaries could only be reviewed once every 10 years.

Based on the recordings obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the District argues in the lawsuit “there is no denying that there is no document to show that USPS performed a detailed analysis of the request change of postal codes before submitting their refusal. “

Asked to comment on the lawsuit, USPS spokeswoman Elizabeth Najduch released a statement primarily reiterating the position taken by the USPS in 2016, saying zip code boundaries are being developed to facilitate efficient mail delivery. and determined by the operational needs of the postal service.

Because zip codes are based on the locations of delivery post offices, the boundaries often do not match municipal or perceived boundaries and identity of the community, she said.

While delivery growth and changing demographics may require limit adjustments to meet USPS goals, general limit stability is essential for fast and accurate mail delivery, Najduch said.

“As new residential developments emerge, political jurisdictions develop or areas integrate into distinct communities, delivery is extended from an established post office nearby capable of welcome the new territory, ”she says.

“As a result, many communities across the country are having mail delivered from a post office with a different name than their community. It is too costly to establish a new post office or create new postal codes for community identity purposes. Postal codes and postal addresses are intended to help us provide fast and accurate courier service. “

The lawsuit notes that the USPS website states, “For many Americans, their zip code not only provides a community limit, but – along with their physical mailing address – an attribute of their identity.

“Postal codes can mark a place as a home or reflect the perceived identity of a city or neighborhood. In some areas, your postal code can be used to determine everything from the value of your property to school frequented by your children. “

The owners have been in contact with US Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn.

“It’s a long-standing problem,” Dingell said. “My constituents have a right for the USPS to seriously consider their application and receive the best possible service from the Postal Service.”

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