Mailbox Questions & Answers from the HRB
 
Dear Residents,

The Q&A below contains questions raised by residents and the HRB about individual lockable mailboxes and cluster mailboxes (CBUs). ICHA and the HRB have worked together to prepare responses to the questions below. To date, the Post Office has not responded to requests for clarifications.

Please review the Q&A. Should you have additional questions, contact Michele Guindani , the HRB's representative fielding input from the community.
 
CLUSTER MAILBOX QUESTIONS

1)     Q: If residents overall agree to pay the cost of installing cluster mailboxes in all neighborhoods with a one-time assessment, can each block decide on the location of the 16-unit cluster within their neighborhoods?
A: NOT Currently
 
2)     Q: Will the Owen location of cluster mailboxes cause a traffic hazard?
A: The USPS selected the proposed location knowing Owen Ct. has adequate street width to afford safe “stopping” for the proposed CBU location .

3)     Q: Will the cluster of 72 on a blind curve create a hazard for children playing in the street?
A : No street within University Hills has been engineered as a blind curve. CBU sites were selected by the USPS taking into consideration stopping and parking, convenience, accessibility and existing infrastructure.

4)     Q: Are clusters located in front yards of homes, and will that be inconvenient for the residents?
A: No CBU is located on private property. All CBUs have been located in University Hills common areas near homes.

5)     Q: Can a group of 8 or 16 neighbors get together and decide to install a cluster box for their area, in a spot where a cluster of 4 now exists?
A: NOT Currently

COMPARISONS OF CLUSTER AND INDIVIDUAL MAILBOX QUESTIONS

6)     Q: What size package can fit in the cluster parcel locker vs. the parcel portion of an individual locking mailbox?
A : CBU large parcel size is – 13”H 12” W & 15” D. USPS approved individual locking mailboxes must have no less than a 5” H X 11” W opening. Therefore, it appears private lockable mailboxes cannot accept packages larger than 5” in height and limited in length, depending on the dimensions of the private lockable mailbox selected.

7)     Q: Will the clusters have a secure place for outgoing mail and do the individual mailboxes have a secure place for outgoing mail?
A: Yes, CBUs have a secure outgoing mail slot, but do not have a secure location for outgoing parcels. Individual lockable mailboxes have an out of sight location for outgoing mail to be picked up by the postal carrier, but it is not secure.

8)     Q: Who owns (and is responsible for upkeep of) the individual locking mailboxes; who owns (and is responsible for upkeep of) the cluster mailboxes?
A : Individual lockable mailboxes would be the property of each resident and that resident would be responsible for maintenance and replacement. ICHA will accept ownership, maintenance and replace all CBUs serving single family homes and townhomes. The cost to provide maintenance and replacement will be factored into University Hills reserve funding.

9)     Q: Will mail continue to be delivered to the existing individual boxes if the whole community is converted to cluster mailboxes?
A: NO

INDIVIDUAL LOCKING MAILBOX QUESTIONS

10)  Q: What are the exact specifications of the individual locking mailboxes that the Postmaster will approve? See Letter from the Postmaster
A: The only USPS specifications provided thus far for an individual lockable mailbox, requires a 5” high opening by an 11” wide slot.

11)  Q: Will the postmaster approve those that are very close in size but not exactly the size?
A: We do not know. See #10 above.

12)  Q:  How do I get approval from the Postmaster and the HRB? Please provide links to mailboxes that will be acceptable to the Postmaster and to the HRB.
A:  A sample box or detailed specification sheet can be delivered or mailed to the Irvine Post Master who can be found at the 15642 Sand Canyon Avenue, Irvine CA 62603. At this time, we recommend you contact the Postmaster directly.
 
HRB approval begins after the USPS approves a box by filing a U Hills Property Improvement Application which can be found here: https://icha.uci.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ArchitechuralGuidelinesApplication-updated-2019.pdf
Style, color and location of posts and boxes will be considered in their review.

ICHA and the HRB will provide links to future USPS approved individual lockable boxes as they become available.

13) Q: Would this mailbox be acceptable to HRB, if approved by the Postmaster? How can we get the Postmaster’s approval?

                       
A: This specific box is with the Post Master for consideration as of 4/22/19 for review and approval.
14)  Q: Will HRB keep a list of approved (by Postmaster and HRB) mailboxes on file, so that in the future residents can see the options?
A: YES . It will be displayed on the University Hills Web site uhills.org for easy reference.

15)  Q: Can the Postmaster change the future types of mailboxes that can be allowed?
A: We are awaiting an answer from the USPS on this question.

16)  Q: If I do not want any of the approved locking mailboxes identified in the future by ICHA/HRB, can I submit an Architectural Improvement Form to HRB for an exception, if the Postmaster approves my choice?
A: YES

17)  Q: Can ICHA finance my individual locking mailbox?
A: NO .

18)  Q: Can ICHA negotiate a lower price for the approved mailbox options?
A :NO, however - ICHA has committed to assist the HRB with identifying contractors who can be privately retained by our residents. These contractors will be advised that they are “competing” against each other to insure competitive rates and services. Homeowners can negotiate economy of scale installations with other neighbors and further capitalize on trying to negotiate prices even lower.

19)  Q: If the community votes against installing clusters, will HRB/ICHA/Postmaster be able to offer a streamlined process for approving individual locking mailboxes?
A: Yes. See also 4/15/19 ICHA letter . See additional items.

20) Q: Can individuals petition the Postmaster if they want to relocate the shared current 4 individual boxes to their own yard so that a locking individual box can be installed if their neighbor who currently hosts the group of 4 boxes does not want to convert to locking individual boxes?
A: We are awaiting an answer from the USPS.

21)  Q: If I install a new locking box on a new post with the permission of the person whose yard it will be in, how do I dispose of the old post and box?
A: Disposal of materials is quite easy. The wood can be sawed into smaller sizes and placed in your green waste bin. The aluminum or steel mailbox can go in your blended recycling bin. If mounting on private property, perhaps remounting all the other boxes would pose a more attractive arrangement. In any case, the property owner and HRB will need to approve the installation.

22)  Q: If I want a locking mailbox but my neighbor whose yard it is in will not approve of a new post, is there another way to install my mailbox on the current post?
A: Possibly . However, HRB and the USPS will need to sign off on the design. USPS height requirements will come into play. Neighbor coordination will also be necessary.

23)  Q: Will it be possible to add a new lockable mailbox post next to an existing one if there is a disagreement between neighbors on the topic of replacing the existing post?
A : Possibly . See # 23 above

24)  Q: If the current mailbox post needs replacing due to dry rot, termite damage, etc. before installing a new heavier mailbox, do all neighbors need to agree and share the cost of the upkeep?
A: YES. If your existing post and support arms have deteriorated and require more than maintenance, all parties who share the post should share in the replacement cost, regardless of introducing a new lockable box.

25)  Q: If the residents overall decide to keep individual boxes, must I change my mailbox to a locking one?
A: No , however, there are a considerable number of older boxes and post configurations that have deteriorated and may need maintenance or replacement.

26)  Q: If I would like an individual locking mailbox and I need a new post, must I install it closer to the street, even if there is no convenient place to do so, or can I replace the current box with the locking box in the same location?
A: The USPS correspondence does not speak to the proximity of the post to the back of the curb. If there is not a curb side mounting opportunity (as is the case for many of the earlier constructed homes), it would appear your best option would be to position the new post near the existing older post. You could consider re-mounting the other older boxes on an approved configuration of cross arms or horizontally side by side in a new arrangement. See Letter from the Postmaster
 
POSTMASTER AND MAIL DELIVERY QUESTIONS

27)  Q: Is the Postmaster the only office who controls the location of mailboxes (individual or cluster)?
A: To ICHA’ s knowledge, YES

28)  Q: Can individuals petition the Postmaster if they do not like the proposed location of the cluster boxes?
A: We are awaiting an answer from the Irvine USPS.
 
29)  Q: Would the Postmaster come to a town hall meeting to discuss the reasons for these changes?
A: We are awaiting an answer from the Irvine USPS.

30)  Q: Does the post office provide door delivery for people who cannot retrieve their mail due to physical challenges
The USPS has a process to request delivery to your home if a mailbox location is not accessible to you. The Post Office’s term for this is “hardship mail delivery.”
To qualify for hardship mail delivery, you must be a disabled person who lives alone at your address, or there must be no other able-bodied adult occupant at your house who could obtain your mail for you. You will need to ask your doctor to write a letter on letterhead stationery stating that you have a disability that makes access to your mailbox difficult or impossible. You will need to have this letter and your request sent to the Post Master at the Irvine post office … 15642 Sand Canyon Avenue, Irvine CA 62603.
31) Q: Can HRB/ICHA assist persons who need door delivery in filling out the form to apply?
A: No

ELECTION QUESTIONS

32) Q: Can the election ballot be delivered in hard copy instead of email?
A: There are a limited number of homeowners who do not electronically communicate with ICHA and the HRB. ICHA has already provided hard copies of the Mail Box Survey to them. Should this survey show a preference for CBU cluster boxes, the election would be electronic with paper options for the handful of residents without email. If additional homeowners prefer a hard copy / ballot, YES , it will be provided.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q: Does HRB monitor the listserv?
A: NO, HRB does not officially monitor the listserv. To contact the HRB, email HRB@uhills.org . For the purposes of responding to all mailbox-related questions, an HRB representative has read the listserv emails to compile a list of anonymized questions.

Q: Does ICHA monitor the listserv?
A: No, ICHA does not officially monitor the listserv. Click here https://icha.uci.edu/contact-us/ for the ways to contact ICHA.