Residents and legislators in three Southampton hamlets are optimistic that the latest effort to give those communities unique ZIP codes will end years of misdirected mail and delayed medication deliveries.
Flanders, Northampton and Riverside share the 11901 ZIP code with Riverhead Town. According to a 2015 survey by the Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association, there are about 50 similar street names in the three hamlets and Riverhead. As a result, the name overlap has caused mix-ups and delayed deliveries everything from mail to medications for seniors.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House passed a bill approving the change. There will be no shared street names among the three hamlets with the new ZIP codes, so mail and packages would be easier to sort correctly at post offices and then arrive at the correct locations.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he is happy about the bill’s progress, noting that for many residents in the three hamlets, the issue also involved a simple need — to stand out as their own community.
“It’s really important to them,” Schneiderman said. “They’ve had issues with mail going to the wrong address, but it’s much deeper. At the core, identity is a part of it. I’m hopeful that they will be able to get what they have wanted for literally decades.”
The U.S. Postal Service has traditionally been reluctant to change ZIP codes based on community identity. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said the federal agency denied his August 2015 request to give each of the three hamlets its own ZIP code. He said he appealed the decision but the postal service had not responded.
Ron Fisher, president of the Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association, said he was thrilled by the prospect of the legislation coming to pass and plans to contact Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) about passing the bill in the Senate.
Rowhan Baptiste, Gillibrand’s deputy press secretary, said the senator supports the bill “and is encouraging her colleagues in the Senate to swiftly pass the Long Island ZIP code legislation and send the bill to the president to sign into law.”
Vince Taldone, 56, a Flanders resident and treasurer with the association, said he is “happy that it’s gotten this far,” but is waiting to see whether the Senate approves the measure.
Taldone said he has had friends who have tried to find his house, but that the Riverhead ZIP code that comes up in some GPS guidance systems has gotten them lost.
“That’s not such a big deal, but when people tell me they don’t get their medication, that’s a big deal,” Taldone said.
ZIP code for the hamlets of Flanders, Northampton and Riverside, plus Riverhead Town
Unused ZIP codes available for future use
Approximate number of duplicate and/or similarly named streets in Riverhead and Southampton towns
Source: Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association