A bipartisan bill that would give Flanders, Northampton and Riverside a new ZIP code passed unanimously Tuesday in a committee in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) proposed the ZIP code change in Section 211 of The Postal Service Reform Act of 2016 in an effort to end problems with the three hamlets, which are in Southampton Town and share the 11901 ZIP code with the Town of Riverhead.
Under the legislation, which awaits a House vote after leaving committee, the hamlets would be assigned a new single ZIP code to share by Sept. 30, 2017.
Zeldin said the ZIP code causes confusion regarding mail deliveries and difficulties for police and first responders because there are 18 identical street names, 32 similar street names “and possibly more” shared among the three hamlets and with Riverhead Town.
“This causes a number of issues in the local community and makes things very confusing for postal carriers, which leads to mail and packages being delivered to the wrong address, and sometimes even being routed as far away as Flanders, New Jersey,” Zeldin said Tuesday in a prepared statement announcing the bill’s move through the House.
Zeldin added that sometimes the packages, including some that might contain “life-altering medications,” cannot be delivered and are frequently being marked as “return to sender” or “address unknown.”
The shared street names and ZIP codes within the towns can also cause major difficulties for police, first responders and other emergency personnel, who may arrive at the wrong address, Zeldin said.
Since his start in Congress in 2015, Zeldin has been unsuccessfully trying to work with the U.S. Postal Service to secure a new ZIP code for Flanders, Riverside and Northampton.
“Over the coming days and weeks I will work with my colleagues in the House to ensure that this bill is passed before the end of the year,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin spokeswoman Jennifer DiSiena said the bill passed on a voice vote.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said Tuesday that residents of the three hamlets have wanted the ZIP code change for years.
“It will be great for their sense of pride and for public safety,” Schneiderman said. “They’ve been asking about this as a community for a long time, and I’ve been supporting that throughout and would certainly like to see this happen.”