Spencer may ban curbside mailboxes in historic district

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2014

SPENCER — Fed up with an ongoing disagreement with the U.S. Postal Service, Spencer aldermen are considering a ban on curbside mailboxes in the town’s historic district.
Alderman on Tuesday asked the town’s Planning Board and Historic Preservation Commission to look into creating an ordinance that would prevent historic district residents from installing mailboxes at the curb.
Town leaders would like all mailboxes in the historic district to be on the house, not at the curb.
But about a year ago, the post office began requiring people who moved into the historic district to use a curbside mailbox. Aldermen protested, and Town Manager Larry Smith said he has had a hard time getting a response from the post office.
Alderman Reid Walters said Spencer’s historic district seems to be the only one in Rowan County being singled out.
“There are no curbside mailboxes in Salisbury in the historic district, but it’s happening here,” Walters said. “And that’s one of my beefs with it.”
Smith said he is trying to enlist the help of U.S. senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr to get answers from the U.S. Post Office.
Aldermen already amended the Historic Preservation Commission’s guidelines to require a certificate of appropriateness for curbside mailboxes, to serve as a deterrent.
Town Attorney Rivers Lawther said the post office has stopped delivering mail to some residents until they put up a curbside box. Smith said town managers across the state are complaining about the same problem.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gobbel said he agrees with the proposal to ban curbside boxes but is concerned about the action possibly preventing residents from receiving their mail.
Lawther recommended going through the Planning Board and Historic Preservation Commission to show that mailboxes on the curb are incompatible with the town’s historic district.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.