It may not be the official motto of the U.S. Postal Service, but it’s been engraved for 108 years on the facade of the main Postal Service building in Manhattan: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Except on Oak Place in Flagler Beach.
It’s not snow. It’s not rain. It’s certainly not heat or gloom of night in this corner of the Sunshine State. It appears to be just plain indifference: the Postal Service just doesn’t want to be bothered. What justifications it provides for refusing service there don’t square with the reality of the street.
And so several days every month, Flagler Beach resident Scott Streit has to make quite an effort to pay his bills. He must go down to the county property tax office to pay his bill, after finding out what it is. He needs to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles regularly and pay his bills, after finding out what those costs are. Any official documents from a city, state or federal office, Streit has to leave his residence at 1839 Oak Place and go to the appropriate office to retrieve any bills or correspondence that were not delivered to his house, and take care of it all there.
The reason: Streit doesn’t get mail delivery. Every piece of mail that’s sent to him gets returned as “Returned to Sender, no receptacle” because the United States Postal Service will not deliver mail to Oak Place.
Residents like Scott and Denise Streit, Rita and David Thornton, and two generations of the Schmidt family have been complaining for years that despite many other types of delivery trucks being able to negotiate the sand road of Oak Place, the USPS just won’t do it. The road is neither impassable nor unusual: it’s one of innumerable dirt roads in Flagler Beach or unincorporated Flagler, and comparatively speaking, it’s in better shape than some roads in, say, Daytona North, where mail delivery is not an issue.
“We get lots of other trucks and deliveries down here, but for years the post office has ignored us and refused to give us a legitimate reason for not delivering,” Streit said. “It makes no sense.”
After several weeks of phone calls and emails and being promised a response, FlaglerLive finally received a statement from Tracie Finley, a USPS Strategic Communications Specialist based in Florida: “We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced by customers living on Oak Place in the Flagler Beach community. Delivery mode options are constrained by USPS policies and procedures, characteristics of the area to be served and the methods needed to provide adequate service, while safely delivering the mail.
“In compliance with these requirements, the established mode of delivery to Oak Place residents is to mailboxes at the intersection of 19th Street South and Oak Place, where customers have safe and reasonable access to their mail.”
Finley did not explain what made delivery to the individual houses unsafe.
According to Streit, he’s received three different reasons over the last few years as for why the U.S. Postal Service won’t deliver to his street.
First he says he was told by the postmaster of Palm Coast, Catherine Heidkamp (her territory also covers Flagler Beach), that they don’t deliver to sand roads, but Streit then drove around to other parts of Flagler that had sanded roads and saw mail at those houses. The Hammock, for example, is full of such roads.
Then, Streit said, he was told a few months later that the USPS “doesn’t back up our vehicles” and that’s why they couldn’t come on Oak Place. “And then we filmed a mailman driving along a route and saw him back up plenty of times, and told (Heitkamp) that,” Streit said. “So there went that one.”
Finally, Streit says he was told that Oak Place was undeliverable because “it’s not a viable street.”
“The city was even great about it and came out and cut the overgrowth vegetation by about four feet, to widen the road and make it easier to pass by, and they still wouldn’t come deliver our mail.
“But 10-ton dump trucks, they have no problem. It’s just so ridiculous.”
Pressed as to what, specifically is the concern about delivering to Oak Place addresses, Finley emailed that “In this case, safety was the primary determining factor. There are safety concerns with the layout of the road, due to the fact that there is not enough passable space for our carriers to maneuver. We are committed to providing all of our customers with delivery service within safety guidelines.”
“That’s a lot of baloney,” said Thornton, whose grandfather, William J. Thornton, was postmaster general of Long Island City, N.Y. from 1932-37. “We have seen plenty of good-sized UPS trucks, and garbage trucks, and FedEx trucks get up and down our street with no problem.”
Nate Schmidt, a former resident of Oak Place, confirms Thornton and Streit’s accounts (as would any drive in any ordinary vehicle down the street).
“You saw FedEx and UPS trucks backing up, turning around, the whole deal, whenever they needed to,” Schmidt said. “It’s just a pain.”
“It’s a quality-of-life issue,” Thornton added. “People maybe don’t think about their mailboxes when buying a new house, but we’ve got new construction going up here now and if people know they won’t get mail, well, that’s something to consider and it could drive down property values.” (Several new houses are going up at the south end of the street.)
Larry Newsom, the Flagler Beach city manager, said he has written two letters to the local postmaster, Heidkamp, stating that Oak Place is “a viable right of way” road. Both his letters were ignored.
“A dirt road is a dirt road, and it’s wide enough for the town vans and lots of other vehicles, and we don’t understand why the post office won’t deliver there to Oak Place,” Newsom said. “Our residents came to us with a problem, and we’re trying to do whatever we can to fix the problem. If the postmaster responded that we need this, this and this to be able to deliver there, then give me the criteria and we’ll see if we can make it happen.
“But they haven’t done that.”
When asked, specifically, what could be done for the residents of Oak Place to get their mail, Finley emailed that “The Postal Service will reevaluate road conditions, if improvements are made. In the case of this particular road, for example, if the road was widened to allow for two-way traffic, that may resolve safety concerns.”
She did not comment on the fact that UPS, FedEx and other construction vehicles that are much wider than USPS trucks make deliveries on Oak Place all the time, Schmidt, Thornton and Streit said.
Streit said the post office’s suggestion of putting a mail receptacle at the corner of 19th Street South and Oak Place isn’t feasible for himself and older residents of Oak Place, since the corner is 120 yards from his doorstep and he doesn’t feel it’s safe to pull over at the corner and get out to retrieve mail.
“My wife (Denise) has cancer and several others of us have health problems, and it’s not so easy to walk all the way down there,” Streit said. “We’re not asking for any special treatment, all we want is for the services provided everywhere else, to be provided to us.”
It does not surprise me that the postal services refuses to address the issue not does it surprise me that they don’t respond or don;’t respond a manner that a sloth would consider timely. Most, (but not all) post workers are lazy and dumb, just the way the postal service likes it. Just ask any average to hard working postal carrier and they will complain about how lazy their coworker are.
The postal service is just another bureaucracy run by lazy federal government employees that should be dissolved and turned over to contactors.
Do us all a favor and contract the work out to hard working local contractors, UPS,DHL or Fedex to deliver regular mail. The contractors do a lot better job!
the truth says
If, the post office won’t deliver mail to them out of a courtesy they should at least give them a free post office box at the post office.
USPS will provide cluster mail boxes at the corner. As they do to the new developments at no charge. Look into it
Land of no turn signals says says
Come on give the post office a break,between all the holiday’s,vacation and sick time they can barley manage as it is.In New York they deliver in inches of snow so a dirt road ?Not to mention billions of dollars in the hole every year.
CB from PC says
Postmaster Heidkamp is not only good at “ignoring” requests, she can be a pretty snarky overpaid Bureaucrat when pressed on an issue.
Decades ago I delivered mail on foot and used a 2 wheel drive USPS truck in heavy snow, storms, summer heat whatever to pick up from the letter and relay boxes.
We used to carry a lead filled baton to deal with any dogs in the “junkyard” section of town.
You had a mailbox, you had delivery.
And I love you too Catherine.
Is there a reason the residents cant drive to the corner to get their mail? No reason to walk. Also most people have p.o. boxes that cant receive mail at home, so it sounds insane and delusional to go to every place in person to pay bills, way more work than walking 120 yards to the corner. Common sense people , some people will come uo with anything to comllain about
Actually, where the mailboxes are placed, I should say where one mailbox is placed by a residence, is not a viable address. And by the way the city of Flagler Beach does not allow anyone to erect a mailbox or anything else on any property that is NOT your property. We also fought for years to get garbage service. And you also probably don’t know that Flagler Beach had at some point abandoned the road which was actually the frontage of our homes and turned the alleyway into our road/street. There is no reason whatsoever that the Postal Service cannot deliver To our place other than their stubbornness and being unreasonable because they think they can. I’ll bet you don’t have to pay $90 plus a year for a box. And I’ll bet you have your mail delivered to your home or in a close vicinity. Maybe you would want to get out a map, and look at Oak Place and look at the situation before Accusing the residents of being bereft of common sense.
Frank Clair says
In these modern times the refusal of the United States Postal Service to deliver mail to these residents is inexcusable and mean spirited. Maybe Senators Rubio and Scott, as well as Representative Waltz need to get involved to correct this egregious situation.
This is unbelievable.. They Dont even get out of the vehicle to deliver mail here. Meanwhile in ny mail is delivered by walking it doesn’t matter what the conditions are. This gives new meaning to lazy.
I guess it’s time to get the state reps involved . It seems some people think its OK to not answer e mails.
This is Federal, your state Rep is useless here. Start calling your congressman’s office, repeatedly till something gets done.
“Because we are the government, and we say so.”
What is wrong with the Palm Coast Postmaster? I never found them very responsive once on a great while when I had a question since I moved here in 1991. They have a cocky attitude to say the least. C’mon deliver the mail to those mostly elderly people in that Oak road.
Meh, pay your bills online, that’s way more convenient than the USPS. Recently, I went down one of the dirt roads over by the Washington Oaks Park area, a UPS truck was stuck trying to turn around. I have a small economy car, so it wasn’t quite as challenging as a mail delivery truck would be. It is what it is. I think the delivery drivers refrain from using anyone’s private driveway to turn around at the end of the street. Some of those roads in the photos also appear to be 1 way directional. All it takes is the neighbor that drives the wrong way to create an issue. From day to day/hour to hour, storm to storm, a dirt roads drive-able condition changes. These are larger vehicles with loads to deliver. And that is more conducive to getting stuck.
Bruce Schnaak says
I’m at the corner of N Daytona/N 7th and watch the PO delivery vehicle do U turns at that intersection everyday. Seems to me they can muster enough effort to include my block of paved road in the route. Postmaster cites economics/ budget in their reasoning.
Law makers, Rubio etc. to get involved that’s a joke. They can’t do their regular job let alone some more added to it.
CB from PC says
Not everyone has Internet. And not everyone is “computer literate”.
You have a mailbox, You have delivery. This is BS.
CB from PC says
I have another suggestion for THE CITY OF FLAGLER BEACH.
Pave the road so the USPS will have no excuse.
According to the article, at least 1 of these people pay property taxes.
Beats pissing away money on sand which is gone after every storm.
Oak Pl resident says
I’m a resident of Oak Place and have been for nearly 30 years. I’ve had to pony up $80/year for a PO box since USPS can’t seem to figure out how to navigate a dirt road. The same road that the garbage collection vehicles, utility meter readers, police vehicles, and dozens of other municipalities or commercial vehicles frequent each day. The asinine excuse and suggestions of placing a mailbox at the end of the road (almost an entire block away) are not preferable nor conducive for folks on our street.
Lawmakers in Florida such as Rubio they only care about kissing Trumps butt, that is all their good for.
Sincerely I really like our US postal service as is one of the best in the world…Not so fond of Postal Masters. So please Palm Coast Master reply to customers request so do not create one more reasons for those that want to fatefully privatize it! Better be aware of what they wish for…
So the USPS is essentially withholding mail for no other reason than they can. https://fee.org/articles/the-post-office-is-above-the-law-and-we-all-pay-the-price/
VANESSA MARTINEZ says
People need to get with the program. Go paperless and pay bills online. Get a PO box and pick up your mail. Have mail addresses and delivered to a nearby friend or family! There are ways to work around this. They just need to try them
this ain’t Mexico this is the United States of America and we get our mail at our home. Why should I have to get my mail sent to my family or my friends house? why should I have to burden my friends and family with my packages and my personal mail? Do you have bank accounts and personal papers that you use an address to set up? Like my car registrations like my passport like my property taxes. By the waythat is Fraud to use an address not your actual address. why should I have to pay 90 bucks a year for a post office box, and what about my neighbors that don’t want to drive to get their mail ?’maybe due to illness or handicap thats not possible…Why don’t you get with the program? Or at least have something intelligent to say.
Please explain how people get mail in Mexico.
Surf Moore says
Why should we have to “work around” anything? Deliver the mail.
Alicia Crittenden says
Stop being pricks and put a mail box at the curb. Sounds like most boxes in the neighborhood are mounted ie on the curb before u enter the street. According to the postal routes and how they are set up. Either boxes are mounted at the curb…..or on the house not mixed all up…….use all your energy to get a damn curbside mailbox and stop wasting people’s airtime on a bunch of bs……
Oak place is not even on some maps that are put out in the county and the city we have been forgotten by the city and the county we have been fighting for years to get at least what everybody else has we originally didn’t have trash service we didn’t have yard waste service we don’t have mail service we just want what everybody else has in Flagler Beach that we pay the same property taxes as everybody else …case closed…That is just the tip of the iceberg on what we do not get on our place
Surf Moore says
What is your route for the FB post office? Wow. Such anger.
FB Resident says
I’m sure if the roles were reversed you would have a major issue having your mail almost a block away from your house. Is that where they’d drop off oversized packages that can’t fit within the mail receptacle? It seems like a great place to leave a box unattended and exposed to the elements.
Hell……I live right at the foot of the flagler bridge…directly across from the fire Station and I can’t get my mail delivered either. And it’s a paved road with plenty of room to pull over and put something in a mailbox. AND. The damn post office is right behind me on the next street over. They said if we want our mail we have to buy a mailbox at the post office….which is quite expensive. They deliver to all the houses down off A1A. How crazy is that??? I would think they would rather do the back roads then to try and get back and forth right on A1A. It just doesn’t make any sense at all. So..I have to get our mail sent to my mom’s house in Ormond bch, and she usually has to drive it up to me twice a Week. ( And she’s in her late 70’s). That’s just rediculous!!! I have found living in Flagler Beach has Many more Downsides than upsides and I can’t wait to get our place “Sold” So We can get the Hell out of here!!!
Willy Boy says
Mostly junk mail, anyway.
CB from PC says
There actually are a number of clauses which govern mail delivery by the USPS.
This road is also close to the beach.
So, I am sorry to tell all of you, there is no Sandy Clause.
You act as if you are the only person who pays for a p.o. box, well you are not, many people use p.o. boxes and pay the same rate you do. Why are you complaining? 90 a year? $7.50 a month is making you broke? Seems like a small price to pay for living on a road that isnt desired. You can always sell your house and move to a place that has a mail box if thats what you prefer, Many others live in homes where mail is delivered. You should try moving to one of those many locations.
AND many want Government to run more of their lives and health care. LOL
Even if the government provided free health care to all, there would still be private doctors you could pay for and use if you so prefer.