MILTON — Santa Rosa commissioners have passed a Land Development Code policy change that addresses cluster mailboxes.

The policy requires the board to verify developers have coordinated with the U.S. Postal Service for subdivision developments submitted for board approval. 

According to the draft policy, new subdivisions with cluster boxes in the right of way must add a pull-over lane to accommodate the delivery truck and resident getting their mail.

The mailboxes must be set on a concrete pad; if the cluster is not in the right of way, there should be a small parking lot and concrete pad for the mailboxes. 

For existing subdivisions, cluster boxes located in the right of way should be in a cul-de-sac, knuckle-sack or snake-belly if available, or, if there is room, at the retention pond parcel. 

Commissioner Sam Parker questioned language in the policy where it states the homeowners associations of new subdivisions would be responsible for cluster boxes in the right of way. He asked what the policy would be for subdivisions without HOAs. 

“There are very few new subdivisions being developed today, public or private, that do not have an HOA,” County Engineer Roger Blaylock said.

According to the policy, the county will not maintain the mailboxes themselves so there will be a requirement for an HOA in each subdivision. 

Blaylock said that with this policy, the county wants to ensure the development community has coordinated with the post office, which is required by federal law.

In November 2017, residents of The Preserve — a Milton subdivision — stopped receiving mail after a disagreement between the Postal Service and the developer over the cost associated with adding the boxes. 

“This is an unfunded federal mandate, and all we’re trying to do is just cover our new citizens coming in from this being norm from the developers,” Commissioner Bob Cole said. “I hate it for our development community, it’s more cost to them, but if they know it up front, then they can spread it over the cost of the whole development rather than being hit with it after the fact and then try to incorporate that cost.” 

“You need this policy because the unsuspecting folks that are moving here, they have no clue about the Postal Service regulation,” County Administrator Tony Gomillion said. “For you to approve [the developments] without taking that into consideration, you’ve really put them in a difficult position.” 

This policy is required throughout the country, not in just Santa Rosa County.