By Aaron Blevins, 1/31/2013
USPS approves West Hollywood Post Office relocation
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has approved the relocation of the West Hollywood Branch Post Office on San Vicente Boulevard, and will be looking to rent new retail space as close to the current facility as possible.
The move followed a written public comment period and a community meeting on Nov. 15, when approximately 25 people voiced their concerns about the proposal. Residents now have until Feb. 8 to send an appeal.
The postal service is planning to move the retail services to make room for Beverly Hills mail carriers. USPS is also looking to relocate the Beverly Hills retail services while consolidating the mail carrier facilities in West Hollywood.
“This decision is to move forward with the process,” USPS spokesman Richard Maher said. “We still have to locate acceptable alternate locations for both facilities in order to make this happen. We’re moving forward, but it’s not a completely done deal yet.”
West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said he was disappointed by the decision, although he understands the agency’s financial troubles. He said the agency may have trouble finding another suitable location in West Hollywood.
“I don’t believe they’re going to find another location that will provide the accessibility and convenience that they have in the current location,” Prang said. “We’re somewhat disappointed that they’re taking this retail government business and transforming it into, essentially, a factory.”
He said it is possible that the West Hollywood post office could remain in its current location. Prang referenced the fact that the postal service’s decision to vacate the retail operations is contingent on them finding another, suitable location.
USPS will need to find a certain amount of square feet for post office boxes, reasonable rent and adequate parking. Finding the space may not be a problem, but convenience and accessibility could be troubling, Prang said.
“There’s still some hope that this whole situation will change,” he said. Prang added that he met with a USPS manager two weeks ago, and he has also enlisted the help of U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “He’s been very helpful.”
Maher said many of the attendees at the community meeting were those who lived close to the post office and enjoyed the convenience. He stressed that the new location will be as close as possible to the old location, and will have the same zip code.
“There’s always a concern when we’re going to make any kind of change,” Maher said, adding that the customers who will be the most impacted will be those with post office boxes. He said USPS retail options are available in many places, such as grocery stores.
Maher said the USPS has no timeline for finding a new West Hollywood retail location, though the search has begun. He said he will continue to share information with community leaders as the agency moves forward.
The location change was spurred by the agency’s desire to sell the Beverly Hills Post Office, though Maher said he could not disclose its value. In a previous interview, he said the sale could save the agency approximately $100,000 on its operation costs annually.
Maher said it is possible for the postal service to retain enough retail space at its current Beverly Hills location if a deal could be worked out with the buyer, though that is unlikely to affect the West Hollywood decision.
“Our goal here is to maintain the same level of service, the same level of retail service in both cities,” he added. “We will not discontinue the operations at either of those two facilities.”
To file an appeal, send a letter to Vice President of Facilities, Facilities Implementation, 1300 Evans Ave., Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94188-0200. Maher said all the appeals are sent to USPS headquarters, where they are reviewed by the legal department, the facilities department and other groups.