JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's not unusual to see a storage container in someone's driveway. But the use of PODS by UPS to store and deliver packages during the holidays has upset people in two Jacksonville neighborhoods.
Neighbors contacted the I-TEAM for help, wondering why the international delivery service was allowed to conduct business out of storage units sitting in someone's driveway in a residential area.
We first learned about those concerns when a man living on the Westside provided images showing a UPS truck deliver package to a PODS container near his home and then drive off.
We staked it out and discovered after the driver left, another UPS worker arrived and loaded the boxes into a golf cart for delivery. It turns out, this routine has been happening since Thanksgiving.
But it wasn't just happening on the Westside. We found the same delivery process happening about three miles away in the Avondale community, and neighbors and parents were not thrilled about it.
"The noise, the employees of UPS are in and out of the PODS all day, every day, hour by hour," complained Davina Packer, who lives right next door to the makeshift "hub" and has two young children.
"I have a small dog, who alerts me (to the UPS driver), of course that has him barking all day long. I home-school my children, so we're home all day. So we're around for these constant interruptions," she added.
She said with the PODS located right on the property line between her house and her neighbor's, she can't see down half the street, which limits her visibility when her children want to walk to play with friends at a home two houses from hers.
Craig Curell's children play with Packer's kids.
"One thing that we love about living here in Avondale is the community aspect of being able to see our neighbors," he explained. "We have three little kids and just being able to step out of our house, we can't see them because there's a big PODS in the way."
Both said there are more cars along the street, with the additional workers accessing the PODS, which makes it congested. The street is narrow. Cars have to park staggered from one another to allow traffic flow.
Packer said she no longer lets her children to play in the front yard because of its close proximity to the PODS and the UPS workers.
"There's different people coming to that (PODS) every day. I don't know who these workers are. I don't know if they're seasonal. I don't know if they are regular employees. I don't like the idea of all these workers being right here, basically right in front of my property all day long and my children being out there," she said.
The I-TEAM contacted Mayor Lenny Curry's office to find out if the manner in which the packages are being stored and delivered using PODS is a violation of city code. We called City Councilman Jim Love, too. Love represents District 14, which includes the homes where the two PODS sat in residential driveways.
Before the I-TEAM had the chance to contact UPS for comment, a company spokesperson reached out in response to a call received from the councilman. The spokesperson wanted to make sure we knew UPS was following all local laws -- the use of storage containers and golf carts was above board.
"The storage PODS are actually transition points that we use in some areas during the holiday season," said Matt O'Connor. "We actually work with the city of Jacksonville's Planning Department to use temporary storage facilities that are in compliance within those areas."
According to O'Connor, the delivery system is used between Thanksgiving and Christmas to handle the dramatic increase in delivery demands, and the company compensates homeowners where the PODS are parked. He said there are dozens of PODS parked in Northeast Florida neighborhoods and communities to help expedite package delivery in high-volume areas.
"We actually receive a lot of positive comments," O'Connor said about the golf cart deliveries. "There is less package truck traffic and they're quieter. So overall, there's a lot of positive comments."
He said the company did not know neighbors were upset about the PODS and was shocked to learn that we saw one of the UPS drivers responsible for delivering packages on the Westside urinate in public twice outside the home where it was parked.
We also noticed a driver delivering packages out of the PODS in Avondale, placing what looked like three packages on the roof of the golf cart without securing them, and then driving through the neighborhood to make his deliveries.
Based on that information and concern among neighbors about both PODS, O'Connor said UPS would have them removed immediately. "We will be a good neighbor, and we will make adjustments as need be to be a good neighbor to them," he said.
Within 24 hours, both PODS were removed from the driveways.
UPS says it has been using the same PODS/golf cart delivery system around the country for about two to three years. If you have a question or concern, you can call 1-800- PICK UPS or chat online with a company representative at UPS.com.
We should mention, neither Mayor Curry's spokesperson nor Councilman Love found any reason to believe UPS is violating any local ordinances, but we are waiting to hear if the city believes this use of PODS could open the door for other businesses to sell or operate out of storage PODS in residential neighborhoods. We'll keep you posted.
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