Located in the Lake Dallas Downtown District
When the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village was built we asked the Postmaster where he'd like us to put the 16-unit mail box, also known as a "cluster box" or " NDCBU" in post office jargon. NDCBU is Neighborhood Delivery and Collection Box Unit. We purchased the nicest and most expensive (and most pretty) box available. Since our local Postmaster Johny Wilson was helping out another post office we then asked Acting Postmaster Sergio to tell us where to place the box. And that's exactly where we placed it. At its' present location it's easy for our Villagers to access and it's easy for the postal delivery person to drive up to and place mail in it.
But Postmaster Wilson returned and said we would not be able to use a multi-user box and instead we would be forced to have one box and park management would then have to distribute the mail because he asserted our village was a "transient" situation.
After quite a bit of going back and forth, it was determined that the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village was not made up of "transients" so we were told we could use our multi-unit box. However, the Postmaster said we would have to move it across the street and install it right off the pavement. This is not acceptable because it requires our residents to stand in the street to obtain their mail, it would be dangerous to have a large box so close to the road where we already have many hit and runs with mail boxes already and it would require us to install the box in front of a property in which we do not own. The property owners would not want such a box blocking access to their property.
We contacted Congressman Michael Burgess's office and Jim Coffey has been our contact there. He has assured us he will not give up. Coffey's title is Outreach Coordinator.
So, as we wait our Villagers are forced to use one single mailbox.
Below you'll find the correspondence and documents pertaining to this subject as well as photos of other tiny home villages and recreational vehicle parks where they are allowed to use their multi-unit boxes with no issues.
Villagers have been forced to share one mailbox due to PO refusing to use our multi-unit box.
January 21, 2020
Congressman Michael Burgess
Scott Hooper, District Manager
Postmaster Johny Weber
Currently, 17 residents of the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village are using one standard-size street-side mailbox placed temporarily until the Lake Dallas Post Office does its’ job and deliver to the 16-unit mail box placed in front of the property at 204 Gotcher Avenue in Lake Dallas. At this point all residents must riffle through each other’s mail to get to their mail. This doesn’t seem ethical nor does it seem legal.
The Oct. 21, 2019 letter from Scott Hooper states that Lake Dallas Postmaster Johny Wilson said that I mentioned that leases would be 6-12 months. “When the tiny homes were first established, your constituent indicated the tenants would be on a 6-12 month lease …” That’s not true. The Planned Development Ordinance created in 2017 and approved on Oct. 26, 2017 states that residents will be required to sign one-year leases.
In the early stages I explained to Mr. Wilson that the residents are required to tie down and install skirting on their homes. His comment was “how do I know that their going to do that?” Perhaps a visit to the property today will provide proof of this requirement.
The letter goes on to say “when they (the tiny home residents) leave, they will take the trailers with them.” That is true in that the residents must sign a one-year lease and may leave after that. However, with the expense of moving their homes, installing tie downs and skirting, moving after one year would be financially difficult. Most of our residents will be staying for years as we are the only tiny home village of its kind in the DFW area and one of only a handful of its kind located within the city limits in the United States.
The Tiny Homes located in the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village are not recreational vehicles. The owners can’t just hook them up to their cars and move on. These are homes built to the International Residential Code using traditional building methods. The Tiny Homes in the Lake Dallas village are owner occupied and are not rented out.
When our residents do leave they don’t roll up the tiny home lot and take it with them. In fact, we will have no problems having another tiny home resident bring their home to the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village.
Our village works very similar to my other rental properties, all of which have one-year leases. When one tenant moves out, the next one moves in. That’s been happening with my properties for 30 years. The difference between my other residents and the tiny home village residents is that the apartment and home residents can simply pack up and move. The tiny home village residence must remove the tie-downs on their homes and remove the skirting.
Mr. Hooper points out Postal Operations Manual Section 631.553 regarding Transient Developments. With one-year leases I would object to the “temporarily occupied” wording in regards to the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village. Our residents are required to sign one-year leases. That’s not temporary. And if one-year leases are considered “temporary” then all the 20 residents of my other rental properties in Lake Dallas should be deemed “temporary” and none should get individual mail service. Further, on a larger scale, if one-year leases are considered “temporary” then who will then be allowed individual mail service when renting?
Section 631.553 also states that the “only option is delivery to a single point or receptacle designated by park management and approved … for the receipt of mail and subsequent distribution or mail forwarding by employees of the park.” The Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village does not have an office and does not have “employees” other than myself. I’m on site once a week and am planning several two-week vacations this year. I’m also going to be working out of state from time to time. So mentioning that the “employees of the park” will need to distribute mail is not possible since there aren’t any “employees of the park.”
We have put up the most expensive and nicest white 16-unit mailbox that we could find. It’s positioned exactly where the Acting Postmaster told us to install it. It’s easily accessible as it’s on the front of the property. I have a video of our postal delivery person dropping off mail in our other 16-unit mailbox located at the corner of Market and Alamo and it takes approximately two minutes to drop off mail to all residents who use that mailbox unit.
Recently I found a situation in the Lake Dallas Post Office district where several recreational trailers are parked with residents utilizing a multi-unit postal box with a United States Post Office sticker on the side. I have included photos of these travel trailers showing that they are not tied down and not skirted and, therefore, these could actually be considered “transient.” Yet, they have a group mailbox with each resident getting their mail delivered to their specific locking box each day. There’s no park employee or management delivering the mail to individual residents. If they’re allowed to have individual mail delivery then our residents should be afforded the same courtesy.
Also, I spoke with Bob Leib who built Escalante Village in Durango, Colorado. Escalante Village is the second tiny home village of its kind in the United States (ours being the first) and Mr. Leib installed two multi-unit boxes similar to ours and he said that there was never an issue with the Durango, Colorado post office. So if residents of Escalante Village are allowed to have individual mail delivery then our residents should be afforded the same courtesy.
We all realize that this is new type of housing but instead of trying to shirk your responsibility I would hope that the Lake Dallas Post Office would reconsider.
With all this information I am requesting the Lake Dallas Post Office would do their job and deliver the mail to the individual locking boxes that we have provided. If the Lake Dallas Post Office continues to refuse we do plan to take further action.
NOTE: Ingrid Henne is a tiny house enthusiast and member of our Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village Facebook group. She is also in management at the United States Postal Service.
Sent: Thursday, August 6, 2020 7:13 AM
To: Hooper, Scott - Dallas, TX
Subject: FW: [EXTERNAL]
Mr. Hooper, I am writing in reference to the letter attached. I also included a picture.
The community in Lake Dallas is a "little house" community. They are permanent there. The owner put up a box to have his residence receive the mail. As I understand from the Postmaster and your letter, that you guys are under the assumption that this is a temporary situation.
Which is untrue.
There is a long waiting list for people that want to put their roots down in that community. The homes have gardens, decks and the likes build around their homes, they would not do that if they plan on leaving anytime soon.
Besides, we have enough apartment complexes, especially in Richland Hills, that have people move in for 3-6 month and they also Receive the mail. We constantly change locks because of the turnaround. But these folks have their homes custom build and moved there to stay there. We have in North Richland Hills, a similar lot and deliver the mail to them. The live in Mobil homes, they have a large NDCBU.
So I don't understand why this small group of people cannot receive mail in the box that the owner of the property put up.
It is not like we pay for the box, all it needs is an arrow lock and measure the rural carriers steps to the box and add one dismount.
Having said that, the people living in this small lot feel unsafe when they have to get the mail out of one box on the street.
They are afraid to let their kids pull the mail, afraid they be run over by a car passing by, next to having everybody's mail in one box There are 13 families living there.
The residents themselves are getting frustrated and more upset especially about the privacy of their mail.
And the safety issue.
Of what I gathered, they are ready to go to the news channel about their situation.
The owner Terry Lantrip invites you to come out and look at the property if you don't believe him. 204 Gotcher Ave, Lake Dallas, TX 75065
Ingrid Henne SPV
North Richland Hills
6051 Davis BLVD
North Richland Hills, TX 76180 817-281-5846
These homes are not transit, as stated in your letter.
POM Revision: Modes of Delivery and Delivery Equipment
Effective April 5, 2012, the Postal Service will revise Postal Operations Manual (POM) subchapters 61, 63, 64, and 65 in selected subsections to provide updated and revised information and procedures regarding modes of delivery and delivery equipment. The POM sets forth the policies, regulations, and procedures of the Postal Service governing delivery and vehicle operations.
The revised procedures apply to new deliveries added to the delivery network; however, the revisions also provide updated language on centralized delivery equipment that may apply to current delivery points as well. This revision provides the Postal Service with autonomy in determining the modes of delivery when adding new deliveries, thereby enabling the Postal Service to provide services adequate and necessary to meeting its basic function in the most efficient manner. Controlling future costs begins with good base decisions whenever new deliveries are added to the delivery infrastructure. These include the mode of delivery and location and type of equipment, as well as the safety and convenience of both carriers and customers. Updated equipment references may be interchangeable such as replacing Neighborhood Delivery and Collection Box Unit (NDCBU) with Cluster Box Unit (CBU) to replace obsolete nomenclature.
It is important to note that Postal Service representatives are still required to meet with builders and developers early in the process to ensure the best choices are made and to assess if the mode of delivery directed to be put in place conforms to the policies of the Postal Service. There are no changes in the current modes of delivery available as an option for the Postal Service in establishing necessary and adequate services.
631.46 Mobile or Trailer Homes
The delivery options for mobile or trailer home developments depend on Postal Service determination of whether the development is permanent or transient.
631.462 Permanent Developments
Permanent developments consist of managed mobile home parks or residential mobile home subdivisions where the lots are permanently assigned, the streets are maintained for public use, and the conditions resemble those of a residential subdivision. For permanent developments, the delivery options are either central, curbside, or sidewalk delivery, as directed by the Postal Service under the regulations below.
a. Central Delivery
(1) Delivery service may be provided to a single point or receptacle designated by local management for the receipt of mail and distribution by its employees.
(2) Delivery service may be provided to one or more central points for the direct receipt of mail by postal customers within the area. The requirements for such central delivery are as follows:
(a) Local Postal Service managers must approve the mailbox sites and equipment.
(b) Customers must not be required to travel an unreasonable distance to obtain their mail, and reasonable access must be provided to the equipment location.
b. Curbside Delivery.
Delivery service may only be provided to boxes at the curb, as directed by the Postal Service, so that they can be served efficiently, safely, and conveniently from the carrier's vehicle and give customers reasonable and safe access. Mail receptacles may be grouped two to a property line where possible.
c. Sidewalk Delivery
(1) If the sidewalk abuts the curb or other unusual conditions exist (e.g., excessive street parking) that make it difficult or impractical to install or serve boxes at the curb line, customers with these situations may install boxes at the edge of the sidewalk nearest the residence where they can all be served by the carrier from the sidewalk.
Note: Email to Jim Coffey, Outreach Coordinator, Office of Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
September 16, 2020
Not sure if I mentioned but I talked to the Bob Leib who built and owns Escalante Village (Durango, Colorado). I asked him about how he was able to use the cluster boxes. He was confused at what point I was making. He said that he just did what they (the postal people in Durango) told him to do and that was to put two of the cluster boxes near the front of his village. He was surprised I was having problems.
October 8, 2020
Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village Letter to USPS
It is obvious the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village is a new concept in housing and something the Post Office has not dealt with frequently. The Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village is the only one of its kind in the North Texas area and one of only a handful located within the city limits of a town in the United States. We are kindly asking the Lake Dallas Post Office to please reconsider their position/stance on mail delivery to this unique neighborhood.
Currently, the residents of the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village are using one standard-size street-side mailbox. (See attached/included photos) The residents dig through all the mail each day to fish out their own mail among the other’s mail in the box all the while standing in the street. This does not seem safe, proper, logical, nor reasonable. A 16-unit mailbox has been purchased and placed in front of the property at 204 Gotcher Ave, Lake Dallas but the Post Office refuses to use it.
All of the residents have leases that are at least one year in length. The Planned Development Ordinance created in 2017 and approved on Oct. 26, 2017 states that residents will be required to sign one-year leases. The owner and all of the residents have provided copies of their leases that are all at least one year in length.
All of the residents are required to tie down and install skirting on their homes as shown in the attached pictures. Most of these residents will be staying much longer than apartment residents. The Tiny Homes located in the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village are not recreational vehicles. The owners, who are mostly corporate professionals working in the DFW area, can’t just hook their residence up to their vehicle and move. These are homes built to the International Residential Code using traditional building methods. The Tiny Homes in the Lake Dallas Village are owner occupied and are not rented out.
When/if the residents leave, they don’t just roll up the tiny home lot and take it with them. The village works very similar to other rental properties that have one-year leases. When one tenant moves out, the next one moves in. The difference between traditional renters and the tiny home village residents is apartment and home renters can simply pack up and move. The tiny home village residents must remove the tie-downs and skirting on their homes.
As previously stated, they have installed an expensive nice white 16-unit mailbox (see attached photo). This box is the same type box used by many apartment complexes. It is positioned exactly where the Acting Postmaster Sergio, who was filling in at the time for the permanent Postmaster, told them to install it over a year ago. It is easily accessible as it is on the front of the property (see attached photo). They followed the logical and reasonable recommendation of a USPS authority whom they contacted prior to installing the box. It is very unfortunate the current permanent Postmaster of Lake Dallas is not as customer service oriented and reasonable as the temporary Postmaster.
In walking the property, viewing the actual premises firsthand, and taking the attached pictures, we have several questions.
#1. What makes USPS believe/think these homes are “temporary” and/or “transient” in nature?
#2. What is different about these homes and other apartment buildings/complexes in Lake Dallas?
#3. What is different about the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village and the 231 Hook St, Lake Dallas?
#4. What is different about the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village and Escalante Village in Durango, CO?
From: Davis, Kelley W - Coppell, TX
Sent: Friday, October 9, 2020 2:36 PM
To: Coffey, Jim
Cc: Wallace, Vanessa K - Dallas, TX
Subject: Congressional Inquiry - Tiny Home Mailbox Issue
Hello Mr. Coffey:
This morning, the Manager, Post Office Operations, Mr. Paul Drain, who oversees the Postmaster of Lake Dallas and his office, visited the location. I’m glad to report the Postal Service will approve sorting and delivery of each resident’s mail into their designed delivery slot within the customer provided NDCBU at this Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village providing the owner places the NDCBU in the location the Postmaster of Lake Dallas identified during the original discussions regarding this request. The Postal Service follows strict rules and regulations for the safety of our employees, while ensuring delivery set-up also follows Postal rules and regulations to provide efficient delivery and collection of mail. The location the Postmaster of Lake Dallas advised would be acceptable in order to initiate individual delivery, currently follows the same line of delivery/travel for the carrier of this route. If the customer would like the Lake Dallas Postmaster to again identify the correct location for the installation of this NDCBU, then he is available to assist the customer. I appreciate you allowing time for this additional investigation by District leadership to ensure this critical decision is investigated thoroughly, which allows us to provide an appropriate resolution to the customer’s inquiry.
Kelley W. Davis
Dallas District, US Postal Service
951 Bethel Rd
Coppell, TX 75099-9671
October 21, 2019
The Honorable Dr. Michael C. Burgess
United States Congress
2000 S. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 200
Lake Dallas, TX 75065-3637
Dear Congressman Burgess:
This letter is in response to the recent inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Terry Lantrip, regarding delivery to the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village.
I regret learning of the inconvenience your constituent has experienced with the mail delivery service to his property. We recognize all mail is important to your constituent and assure you it is our every intent to deliver the mail as promptly and reliably as possible.
My office contact Mr. Johny Wlson, Postmaster, Lake Dallas Post Office for assistance in addressing the issue reported by Mr. Lantrip. When the tiny homes were first established, your constituent indicated the tenants would be on a 56-12 month lease and whey they leave, they will take the trailers with them. Mr. Wilson informed Mr. Lantrip that based on the information he provided, the project will not quality as an individual delivery.
The POM (Postal Operations Manual) states in section 631.553.
Transient developments are mobile homes, trailer, and recreational vehicles parks where lots are temporarily occupied or rented and considered transient, short-term, or seasonal, even though some families may live in them for extended periods. For these developments, the only option is delivery to a single point or receptacle designated by park management and approved by [roved (sic) by the local Postal Service managers for the receipt of mail and subsequent distribution or mail forwarding by employees of the park. This method is also available for permanent developments.
If I can be of further assistance, please contact me.
951 W. Bethen Rd.
Coppell, Texas 75099-9998
From: Coffey, Jim
To: Terry Lantrip
Wed 4/14/2021 9:58 AM
The USPS Congressional Rep designated to take Congressional Inquiries from Texas, Mr. Ryan Cunius. I spoke with him yesterday requesting an update and he indicated that it was still being investigated and in the works.
Escalante Village in Durango, Colorado.
Escalante Village in Durango, Colorado. I talked with the developer/owner and asked how he was able to use the cluster boxes at his village. He seemed confused as to what I was saying. He said he just talked to the postmaster who said put up the cluster boxes.
Cluster boxes are located at the entrance to the community and on the same side of the street as the
Hidden Valley RV Resort in Wylie, Texas
Hidden Valley RV Park in Wylie. These are also RVs that are not required to be tied down or skirted. They have a bank of cluster boxes.
Cluster boxes are located within the Resort.
231 Hook Street in the Lake Dallas Post Office service area.
Recreational Vehicle park on Hook Street in the Lake Dallas Postal District. These are RVs that are not tied down or skirted. It looks like their cluster box was provided by the post office.
Cluster box is located on the edge of and on the same side o the street as the trailers.
The Postal Service is requiring the multi-unit box to be moved across the street in front of someone else's property.
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