Shelter Island residents face package delivery problems

Ron Jernick from Shelter Island picks up his Ron Jernick from Shelter Island picks up his mail and packages from the Shelter Island Post Office. (Feb. 21, 2013) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

advertisement | advertise on newsday

There may be no simple solution to Shelter Island's package delivery problems.

Earlier this month, local residents, town officials and a Postal Service systems specialist were brought together by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) to discuss increasing complaints about package delivery on Shelter Island. It became clear the problem is probably linked to one simple thing: no home mail delivery in town.

One suggested change was to eliminate one of Shelter Island's two ZIP codes, 11964 and 11965; the other was to give everyone an actual street address. Both ideas would be costly and require all residents to change their addresses with every bank and credit card company, dentist and lawyer they may have.

Neither of those ideas drew much support among the 50 people who attended the meeting.

The issue of no home delivery is one most residents have learned to live with over the years. Everyone has to go to the post office to get mail, but if a post office box number is not included in the address, it will probably be returned.

Though officials said the situation is getting worse because computerized databases fail to match addresses, private mail delivery firms are learning to deal with the fact that street addresses just don't work for regular delivery in the town.

Officials are looking into complaints that computerized address databases may not accurately reflect the proper ZIP code, causing some of the package delivery problems. And one new problem came up at the meeting: enhanced New York State driver's licenses are impossible to get on Shelter Island.

That's because the state Department of Motor Vehicles insists applicants for the licenses -- which allow people to drive to Canada or Mexico without a passport -- provide street addresses.

The DMV "won't accept a post office box for an enhanced driver's license," said Oliver Longwell, a Bishop spokesman. "That's something we have to work on, too."

In an email to postal officials, Councilman Peter Reich, wrote, "On Shelter Island, where there is no delivery, our P.O. Box is our legal address." He added, "This leaves us in a quandary."

Officials plan to meet again in the next few months. The attendees will be notified via email when a date is set.

You also may be interested in: