U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin Continues Push For New Zip Code In Flanders
U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin is not giving up the fight to secure a new zip code for the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton.
He reintroduced a bill this week, called The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, along with House colleagues Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, and Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland.
The bill, dated January 30, is intended to “improve the delivery of mail nationwide” and also includes text, pushed by Mr. Zeldin, mandating that Flanders, Riverside and Northampton have its own zip code. Currently the three hamlets share the same 11901 zip code with Riverhead Town, which causes confusion with mail delivery and issues with GPS devices not finding correct addresses. The hamlets share an estimated 18 identical street names, and nearly three dozen similar street names with Riverhead Town.
While some area residents have learned to deal with the issues, others worry about what will happen when a true emergency arises, such as a house fire, and the responding agency goes to the wrong street.
Ron Fisher, president of the Flanders, Riverside, Northampton Community Association, said in an email that he is glad Mr. Zeldin is continuing to push for a new zip code for his hometown.
“We are appreciative that in the first month of his second term, Congressman Zeldin already reintroduced legislation that would help the residents of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton finally obtain a zip code,” Mr. Fisher wrote. “Congressman Zeldin has also pledged to work with us to find a Senate sponsor in either party that will usher this bill through the Senate and see it signed into law.”
If the bill is ultimately signed into law, the federal government will have up to 270 days to create a new zip code for Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, according to Jennifer DiSiena, a spokesperson for Mr. Zeldin.
Mr. Zeldin stepped in to help create a new zip code in 2015, his first year in office, and has faced several roadblocks along the way. In August 2015, he penned a letter to the U.S. Postal Service seeking help creating a new zip code to distinguish the area from Riverhead Town. When that attempt came up short, he teamed up with Mr. Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee—the group that has jurisdiction over the post office—to put language in a bill that would create the zip code. Mr. Chaffetz helped a community in Salt Lake City County, part of his legislative district, with similar issues to secure its own zip code in 2012.
Last year, a bill that would have created the tri-hamlet zip code was approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and later approved by the House of Representatives. But the measure was blocked in the U.S. Senate by those interested in pushing through their own postal reform bill, Ms. DiSiena said, and as a result, Mr. Chaffetz had to reintroduce his bill in the House.
The latest piece of legislation is waiting to be voted on in the committee. Once it passes there it will move on to the House, before being reintroduced in the Senate. If it passes there, the measure will move on to be signed by the president.