USPS has tough time keeping up with Houston's housing boom

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by Rekha Muddaraj / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 7:24 PM

HOUSTON – The Houston-area housing boom is causing growing pains for a new Katy neighborhood.

Residents of the Firethorne Subdivision didn’t have mailboxes when they moved into their new homes.

Teresa Garner said she had to go to the local post office to pick up her mail for the first three months.

"We had to go to the annex and stand in a terrible line," Garner said. "Thirty minutes to get your mail."

It was such a hassle, she only went once a week.

Garner finally got a mailbox but it’s in a different section of the subdivision, about a mile away.

Garner said there’s a designated area for mailboxes on her street.

"We were going to get it right here, six houses down," she said.

Wayne Meyer, general manager of the Firethorne Development, said plans for locating the cluster boxes were worked out months before homes were built.

Meyer said he created gazebo-like structures to house the boxes, but the United State Postal Service has yet to install them.

"I’m not sure what I can do other than what I’ve already done – and that is make their job easier and cheaper," said Meyer.

Cheaper because cluster boxes are less expensive than individual mailboxes. A Congressional committee found that cluster boxes cost $160 per address as opposed to $353 an address, per year.

Dionne Montague, a Houston-area spokesperson for the Postal Service, told KHOU an emergency shipment of cluster boxes had been expedited and were being installed in the Houston area on Tuesday.

She would not reveal exactly where they were being installed, citing security concerns.

She also said production was delayed because only a limited number of vendors are approved by USPS to install the locks on the mailboxes.

Meyer believes development in the Houston area is happening faster than the Postal Service can keep up.

But he still says it’s no excuse for the huge inconvenience it’s causing his homeowners.

"Some of the residents were told their mailboxes won’t be installed until May."

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