ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Residents in Northern St. Johns County say they’ve been signing and sealing their letters and packages, but they aren’t necessarily being delivered on time or to the right address. County officials say St. Johns County is the eighth-fastest growing county in the country and locals living near the newly developed Durbin Park area say USPS can’t keep up with the growing demand.
“I’ve been here at the post office and it takes like 20 minutes to mail a package,” said Colton Kehoe, a resident living in ZIP Code 32259, about a USPS Contract Postal Unit (CPU) located inside a Circle K gas station off County Road 210.
CPUs are retail facilities operated by suppliers who have a contract with USPS. Kehoe said he isn’t only experiencing problems at this CPU, but also mail delivery and pickups at home.
“Even my neighborhood, it’s actually pretty crazy,” Kehoe said. “Half my mail is not my mail. It’s always switched up and they’re definitely late all the time.”
Kehoe said he and his neighbors are also seeing increases in the amount of lost mail.
The I-TEAM looked on the neighborhood app called Nextdoor for similar complaints and found a woman named Shirley Fiano who posted this:
We live in Leith Hall in North Durbin and our mail has been terrible for the past year or so. We frequently get our neighbors mail and often neighbors get ours as well. Outgoing mail is frequently neglected or left behind.
News4Jax has learned that if you live in Northern St. Johns County near the newly developed Durbin Park community that package or letter you send out from ZIP Code 32259 is sent back to Jacksonville in ZIP code 32256 to be processed at the USPS Distribution Center at 11250 Phillips Industrial Blvd. The mail is then rerouted from Duval back to St. Johns if St. Johns is its final destination.
Post office employees tell the I-TEAM that because of the growth in Northern St. Johns County, USPS is installing on average two new routes a month to homes and businesses, which can consist of seven to 1,200 new deliveries for delivery drivers.
The closest full-service U.S. Post Office in ZIP Code 32259 is at 112 Bartram Oaks Walk, Suite 104.
Locals, however, say they are experiencing delays and other postal issues farther east near I-95 near the CPU, which is approximately 12 miles away. USPS customers believe their ZIP code is experiencing growing pains.
“As far as the community goes, it’s blowing up, and the houses are blowing up. It means more businesses, shopping centers and places to eat,” said Anthony Vito, a USPS customer.
“A new post office would be amazing,” USPS Customer Shay Lewis said. “With all the people moving out here, we need another one for expansion.”
The I-TEAM asked the president of the Florida Association of Letter Carriers, Al Friedman, what the United States Postal Service typically does to address community growth.
“In these kinds of situations, typically the United States Post Office will rent an annex or a building, and they’ll create a post office in a building, add a loading dock and a full-service window for growth,” said Friedman, who added that USPS follows federal guidelines in determining how many more resources they’ll dedicate to a certain ZIP code.
Friedman also pointed out ZIP code 32259 is one of the fastest-growing communities in the state, and other counties, like Hillsborough County, are experiencing similar growing pains.
“It’s extremely tough keeping up with the mail because of all the new development and what’s slated to be built in the near future,” said Friedman.
The United States Postal Service also decides if it will add an additional facility based on community input. If you are experiencing any issues with your service, customers are urged to contact their local post office at 1-800-ASK-USPS or online at www.usps.com/help.
USPS spokesperson Carol Hunt, who oversees Jacksonville and St. Johns County, said there are no immediate plans for another post office but they are aware of exponential growth.