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A proposed building ordinance may require future owners of new homes in Springville to have their mail delivered to centralized neighborhood mailboxes.

The city Planning Commission is considering a requirement for developers to install combination curbs, gutters and sidewalks in new subdivisions - eliminating planter strips between sidewalks and gutters.The theory is that the city's liability would be decreased because all utility lines would run inside each homeowner's property line. The requirement also is considered a conservation measure because it would decrease the amount of lawn residents water.

"Right now, this is the direction the Planning Commission is leaning," City Councilman Grant Palfreyman said.

However, Springville Postmaster Gaylon Palmer said the requirement would cause delivery problems because the U.S. Postal Service requires curbside delivery to all new homes. The only time deliveries are made directly to new houses is for ones built between two homes already receiving porch service. By eliminating planter strips, residents would have no place to install curbside mailboxes.

In some areas where curbside delivery is not practical, however, the Postal Service uses cluster mailboxes - a cluster of eight or more locked boxes. Each household has an assigned box with a key; the boxes are serviced from behind by the letter carrier. The clusters are placed in a central location or at the entrance into the neighborhood.

"If we eliminate planter strips, this is the only alternative we have," Palfreyman said.

Councilmen Chris Sorenson and Gordon Smith agreed that the elimination of planter strips would help the city but said they would have a hard time supporting mailbox clusters if residents oppose the idea. Support for clusters likely will depend on how central they are, how secure the mailboxes are and if the clusters provide adequate privacy.

"I know that if I were in that situation I'd at least want the mailbox placed in a position where I could see it," Sorenson said.

Palmer doubts residents in new subdivisions would support the mailbox-cluster requirement. Residents in rural areas serviced by the Springville Post Office often complain about having to walk distances to pick up their mail, he said.

"A lot of citizens just like to receive mail as close to their home as possible," Palmer said.

Council members will ask the Planning Commission to discuss each proposal, then make a recommendation to the City Council.