Alderman William Carter argues at the Monday, Nov. 3 Dixon City Council meeting that Dixon residents are entitled to their mail and the city should do what's necessary to require residents to allow mailboxes on city rights-of-way for their neighbors
DIXON, Mo. (Nov. 5, 2008) — When Sean Vinson moved into his new home in Dixon, he thought getting mail would be a simple process. As with many areas that have a motor delivery mail route, most homes on his side of Andrews Street don’t receive mail in curbside mailboxes, but the mailboxes are placed on the opposite side of the street for the convenience of the carrier.
The Dixon postmaster pointed out a location to Vinson where he needed to place a mailbox on the opposite side of the street, but after the owner of that property refused to let Vinson put up a mailbox, Vinson came to the Dixon City Council Monday night for help.
“The question I pose to the council is how do we accommodate the free mail delivery that we all need?” Vinson asked.
The location where postal officials say Vinson should put his mailbox is within the Dixon city right-of-way and the city has an easement for using it, but the easement covers only utility service, not mailboxes.
That’s a problem, Mayor Darrell French said.
“I wish you could have settled this with your neighbor,” French said. “It probably isn’t a city issue.”
Alderman William Carter wasn’t so sure. Carter, who also works with a large residential subdivision in St. Robert, said federal regulations have become stricter in recent years for mailboxes.
“I’m going through a similar issue in St. Robert; we just put in a lot of new mailboxes and they won’t deliver to them,” Carter said. “They have to be in groups of not less than two and not more than five, so somebody is going to get a whole lot of mailboxes in their yard.”
Alderman Steve Martin said he didn’t understand why the post office won’t deliver to a mailbox on Vinson’s property.
“Is there anybody else on your side of the street who has a mailbox?” Martin asked. “If so, I’d say you just go ahead and put it up.”
Alderman Vi Tyson agreed.
“Why don’t they just do it, shut up, and move on?” Tyson asked.
That won’t work, Vinson said, because the Dixon postmaster has told him that it would make mail route delivery more difficult if all the mailboxes aren’t on one side of the street at the location where Vinson lives. For now, Vinson said he’s been told by the Dixon postmaster that he has to drive down to the post office to pick up his mail during office hours.
French wasn’t happy.
“I’m really sorry that (the Dixon postmaster) has not accommodated you,” French said. “What the council needs to decide is, ‘Are we going to change the ordinance to include mailboxes in the easement as well as utilities?’ In the past we have not.”
Changing the ordinance is likely to bring the opposing property owner down to the city council, French warned, and create more problems all over Dixon.
“If the city gets involved we’re going to have mailboxes popping up everywhere,” French said.
That could be a good thing, Tyson said.
“It’s really sad to watch the old people having to cross the highway, where they don’t slow down, to get their mail,” Tyson said.
Carter said the city needs to find a way to accomodate Tyson and his requests.
“My opinion is we need to do whatever we need to do so he can get mail,” Carter said. “He’s got to get his mail; that’s his right.”
French said it’s not quite that simple.
“He is not denied his mail; he can still go to the post office to get it,” French said.
French asked the city clerk to call the city attorney, find out what would need to be done to change the city’s ordinances to specify that mailboxes as well as utilities can be placed in the city’s right-of-way on the side of city streets. Depending on the results of that meeting, Dixon aldermen may call a special meeting to address Vinson’s concerns.