Mail delivery shake-up causes concerns for College Station residents and property managers

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 8:47 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -More changes are happening at the postal service in Bryan-College Station, specifically in how mail is delivered to several apartment complexes near Texas A&M University. The Postal Service is expected to stop delivering straight to select mailboxes next week in complexes they now classify as student housing. According to a letter sent to several property managers in College Station, the postal service is expected to make the changes next week.

The postal service did not verify which complexes are affected but scores told KBTX they include The Grove at Southwood, The Trails at Wolf Pen Creek, The Ridge, and the Arbors at Wolf Pen Creek and Tower Park Apartments.

In the letter shared with KBTX and addressed to multiple property managers, the postal service cites section 631.52 of the postal operations manual (POM) as the basis for reclassifying specific complexes near the university as student housing, dormitories, and residence halls.

The relevant section from the POM emphasizes that mail is delivered to dormitory buildings and residence halls when addressed to a specific building. Bulk mail is then delivered to a designated representative of the school or property, who assumes responsibility for further distribution to students and residents. The determination of the proper mode of delivery, in cases without a direct affiliation with the school, rests with the Postal Service.

However, residents and property managers disagree with the post office classification of their complexes.

“We do not rent ‘by the bed’; we are not furnished; we have leases expiring throughout the calendar year, and we lease to anyone that meets our rental criteria,” said one property manager.

Despite renting to students, property managers argue that their complexes are not exclusively designated as student housing or dormitories, emphasizing the diverse demographics within their communities. They contend that penalizing apartment communities for their proximity to the university is not fair.

“Texas A&M has a current enrollment of 70,000 students, and they live all over College Station. Our apartment community has elderly residents, families with children in local College Station schools, local business employees, remote employees, and yes, of course, college students. Apartment communities in College Station should not be penalized for their proximity to the university,” the property manager added.

Despite property managers’ opposition, the postal service insists that the properties are student housing.

“The key consideration in determining the mode of delivery is the fact that this is student housing,” the postal service said. “Regardless of the configuration of the interior living space, it remains student housing.

If these changes take effect, residents would be required to retrieve their mail from the post office, private mailboxes at vendors like Postal Plus or Student Mail Services, or their property manager. However, many oppose this option due to privacy and liability concerns.

Mail delivery concerns.
Mail delivery concerns.(MGN)

“Student housing is affordable bulk delivery, and, accordingly, either the school or building owner is responsible for the final delivery of the students’ mail,” said the postal service. “Effective Monday, November 27, 2023, all mail for the above properties will be directed to a single address location for delivery.”

The changes are not sitting well with renters either, many of whom are not students.

“Even though our apartment complex was built in 1973 and been next to the college for those 50 years, now they’re trying to say we’re student housing,” said College Station renter Belinda Burleson. “We’re not all students that live there.”

“You know, going to get a P.O. Box, $30 a month is a lot of money for us, the students. Many of them don’t have vehicles,” Burleson added.

Those challenges are even more difficult if you have a disability like Kayla Collins, who is legally blind and can’t drive to the post office.

“I physically can’t get over there, and I’m also on a fixed income right now, and I can’t be spending. It would probably be like $20 a day just getting there to the post office and then $20 getting back,” said Collins. “They want me to go all the way to Bryan to pick up my mail. I am not working right now, and I’m on a fixed income. I cannot physically make it to Bryan to pick up my mail. I would like the post office to understand what a hardship this will be for me and possibly others.”

Despite understanding the need for cutbacks, residents urge the post office to consider the timing of the changes, especially given the approaching holiday season.

“I just wish the post office would be a little more thoughtful and caring and why the heck November 28th and not after the holidays? That makes no sense,” said Burleson.

The postal service declined an on-camera interview but maintained that local leaders followed the postal operations manual in making the decision on delivery methods for the affected complexes.

While the letter that went out to complexes stated that changes would go into effect next week, the postal service told KBTX that a date is pending.

“The timeline for an effective date is pending at this time,” said Johnson.