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Curb mailbox owners can relax for a while

A tug-of-war between St. Petersburg and the U.S. Postal Service has eased, at least for now.

By JON WILSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 15, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Curbside mailboxes remain an issue, and the city ordinance banning them remains in place.

But a new postmaster has come to St. Petersburg and as city officials get to know Thomas W. Pawlowski, they say they won't immediately crack down on property owners who don't remove the curb boxes.

In August, the City Council approved a city ordinance change that requires owners who have curbside boxes -- or who plan to install them -- to get a permit.

No permit could mean an appearance before the city's Code Enforcement Board. That board could place a lien on the property, at least in theory.

Property owners felt pinched. Many complained that they didn't know whose directives to follow: the city's or those of the U.S. Postal Service.

Right after the council's decision, homeowners received a Postal Service letter saying carriers are no longer permitted to deliver mail to an address where curbside boxes have been removed.

But owners can relax, at least for the time being, said Susan Ajoc, the Neighborhood Partnership director.

"What we don't want to do, we don't want their delivery of mail to cease because they've pulled (the curbline) box. We've postponed (enforcement) pending some of our discussions with the Postal Service," Ajoc said.

When Pawlowski's appointment was announced last week, the new postmaster said that while he believes curbside boxes offer safer and more efficient delivery, he also believes people should have a choice.

Pawlowski also suggested that the Postal Service would not be zealous in pushing the curbside boxes on property owners.

City officials still would like residents with curbside boxes to apply for permits, Ajoc said. Officials are encouraging the return of the door hangers placed at curbside customers' homes during the past few weeks.

The 16-inch-long door hangers include a temporary permit application that owners can fill out. Ajoc said Section 6 is of particular interest. It explores how the owner actually received the curbside box.

"What we're trying to gauge . . . is the kind of circumstances under which the mailboxes were installed," Ajoc said.

Ajoc said the next round of discussions with the Postal Service should come soon after Thanksgiving.

There is no charge for a permit if the box owner gets it on or before Jan. 12. Curbside boxes have been banned in the city since 1968.

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