By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY/LONDONDERRY -- ZIP code changes for residents of a mobile home park that straddles the town line could still be weeks away, as United States Postal Service officials wait for resident survey results.
“We’ve already determined that we can do it,” said Tom Rizzo, a spokesman for the Northern New England District of the Postal Service on Wednesday. “Now we just have to follow all the ZIP code boundary review processes.”
The town of Londonderry petitioned the Postal Service in April, in conjunction with Derry and the state’s 911 program, to update the ZIP codes at Whispering Pines Mobile Home Village.
All of the 252 homes have Derry ZIP codes, though 215 of them actually sit on the Londonderry side of the line, said Londonderry fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie.
Coupled with like-sounding street names, MacCaffrie said the ZIP code discrepancies could leave residents and emergency personnel alike confused about just where a building sits and which town should be responding to a call.
Town officials in both Londonderry and Derry have approved new street names and numbers for Whispering Pines, which were supposed to go into effect Tuesday. But officials have decided to hold off on changes at the municipal level until the Postal Service moves on ZIP code updates, MacCaffrie said.
As part of the Postal Service review, Rizzo said that all park residents up for a new ZIP code will be asked to respond by survey with whether or not they are in favor of the changes.
“We need to follow a ZIP code boundary review process and that often takes up to three months,” Rizzo said. “However, we are doing what we can to expedite this town’s request.”
Rizzo said that the survey will be delivered to each home up for a ZIP code updates this week, with a return deadline of Jan. 21.
Postal Service officials will compile results and authorize the ZIP code updates within 30 days of that deadline if a majority of residents support the changes, he said.
If changes are approved, Rizzo said the Postal Service will have to adjust delivery routes and transportation schedules. Further there will be admin-istrative costs associated with forwarding mail and updating directories, he said.
“It’snotassimpleasthrowing a switch,” Rizzo said. “Things have to be looked at and adjustments have to be made. It can be fairly involved.”
The Postal Service receives and evaluates a number of requests to change ZIP code boundaries each year, Rizzo said.
“The overriding concern of the ZIP code system is delivery service and efficiency,” he said. “It’s not done solely for the reason of community identity, which does come up from time to time. In cases of enhancing 911 response, we make every reasonable effort to accommodate them.”
Once a decision about Whispering Pines is made, Rizzo said Postal Service officials and town staff will work together on an implementation timeline.