MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For months, a disabled Maryville couple has tried to have their mailbox placed next to their new home, but their post office insists that the mailbox be located on the roadway where the couple lives.
The U.S. Postal Service is by volume the world’s largest postal system, delivering 47% of the world’s mail. Being the third largest employer in the United States, there are procedures to follow if someone requests a change to their home.
This procedure led Arlene and Cliff Zipnick to become so frustrated after requesting a change, they contacted WATE.
The Zipnick couple enjoys the mountain views from their back porch. There is a big driveway in front of their new home with a “way in” and a “way out.” However, in front of their home, cars speed by, making it dangerous to cross.
Arlene Zipnick has mobility problems and health issues. She uses a scooter to get around when they go to the store or travel.
For months, they have wanted their mailbox placed close to their home. But their local postal service told them, “No,” it has got to be on the roadway.
“They said it will never happen. It has to go across the street in front of that house, directly in front of our house,” she said.
The postal code has exemptions for mailbox placements for those with disabilities. Cliff and Arlene Zipnick have submitted statements to the postal service asking for a special exception. Their doctors also sent statements stating the couple’s individual hardship applications be approved.
Cliff Zipnick shared that he hand-delivered the letters:
“It’s impossible for her and it’s difficult for me,” Cliff Zipnick said.
Their driveway, about 25 yards from the road, is mostly uphill making it tough for Cliff Zipnick even with his cane.
Originally, his neighbor’s mailbox was on the roadway but their neighbor is disabled and an exemption was granted, so the box was moved next to their home.
Cliff Zipnick shared that he had liked their mailbox placed on the railing or in front of the porch making it easy for the carrier.
“They, on their route, come from there. They’d be able to make a left-hand turn in the circular driveway, drop it here, and continue on their route with no inconvenience,” Cliff Zipnick said.
“I’d like them to consider there are people who are disabled and can’t walk the distances up there. Even with my mobility scooter, it’s difficult to do. I’ve tried it,” Arlene Zipnick.
WATE contacted the U.S. Postal Service who stated, “There are procedures and guidelines for changing the type of delivery when service by existing methods imposes an extreme physical hardship to an individual customer. While we are concerned about the welfare of all customers, we must carefully evaluate each request. In this instant case, local postal management has approved the request.”
Just the other day, the couple installed their mailbox on their front porch railing. They were told to expect mail delivery in just a few days.
WATE has talked with the Zipnick’s earlier and they are pleased with the results. The requested change of having their mailbox moved from the street to their porch is temporary.
According to the post office, the move is good for one year. Even though it is unlikely the couple’s physical hardships will change. What they will have to do next year is again request an exemption, those are the procedures that the post office requires.