Why the post office won’t deliver mail to this man’s Chesterfield home: ‘It’s frustrating’

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Retirement mixes right in with the Korbas who recently moved from Maryland to the new Lake Margaret section of The Highlands in Chesterfield. The couple loves their new home and lifestyle, but there's one problem.

"Everything except getting the mail is more relaxed," Kenneth Korba said. "I look in my mailbox I see nothing, and it's been that way for over three months now."

Kenneth Korba has a postmaster general approved U.S. mailbox. And yet, by our clock, he has to drive over eight minutes each way to the Post Office to pick up his mail.

"I want to get my mail here at my home," Korba said.

Even more exasperating, Korba said, sometimes when he goes to pick the mail up, he's told it's out with a carrier on a delivery route that runs through The Highlands bringing it within 90 seconds of his home. Yet it won't be delivered.

"It's a little frustrating to know that a quarter of a mile away, in The Highlands and Lake Margaret, they're delivering the mail," Korba said.

Why is this happening?

It's because of a cost-saving decision made by the USPS in 2012. The decision required new subdivisions to have cluster mailboxes. That's where all the mailboxes are put together in one spot.

Yet local developers and builders said the new policy was not adequately communicated by USPS, so they didn't plan for cluster mailboxes.

Schell Brothers is the company that built the Korba's home.

"I was aware that the post office said, at one time, that they would no longer do individual mailboxes, but specific to Lake Margaret, no, I was not," Tricia Smith, Division President for Schell Brothers said. "We thought we would have mail delivery to individual boxes."

Smith said USPS never consistently enforced the rule, so some of their new homes get mail, but the Lake Margaret buildings do not.

And, now, it's too late for cluster mailboxes to be added.

"At this point we have roads in, we have homes in, we have all the property corners delineated already," Smith said.

"What can you say to someone who might say, 'well, this went into effect, or they made this announcement in 2012, even if they were't consistently enforcing it, why not just follow the rule?'" CBS 6 problem solver Melissa Hipolit asked Smith.

"That's a valid question, I just think there are so many unanswered questions that haven't been flushed out between the county approval process, and what the post office is going to require themselves," Smith replied.

In the meantime, the Korbas and dozens of his neighbors remain stuck in the middle of what they say feels like a "cluster."

"Figure it out, make a decision, if it's a cluster box, so be it, or deliver the mail here to my address to my mailbox," Korba said.

We asked a spokesperson for the postal service about these concerns, and while they did not answer our specific questions, they did send us this statement:

"Centralized delivery is the preferred mode for new or extended business or residential delivery points. Adding centralized delivery for new construction helps reduce costs and continue to affordably meet the needs of our customers."

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