New residents upset about address designation

-A A +A
By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Calabash or Ash? In what area do new Brunswick Plantation residents Glenn Beall and Bob Gallo live?

According to all the literature they received prior to moving into the development’s new, gated community, The Hamptons, they live in the coastal community of Calabash.

But once they settled last year into the community’s latest phase of the neighborhood, they were told by postal officials they must have an address in the rural community of Ash.

Three weeks ago, the first two residents of the newest phase on the north side of No. 5 School Road went to see Congressman Mike McIntyre about the matter.

In the meantime, they drive extra miles to pick up their mail each day at the Seaside Post Office near Sunset Beach because they do not want to be on the Ash delivery route.

At first, the post office didn’t even know they existed, said Beall, who retired to his freshly built home with his wife, Peggy, last summer from Mount Airy, Md.

When they were instructed to have their mail forwarded from up north, the local post office sent it back as undeliverable.

Ultimately, a clerk at the Seaside post office told Beall what was causing the problem.

“You don’t live in Calabash,” the clerk told him. “You live in Ash.”

“I said I don’t even know what Ash is,” Beall said, adding it took months to change his and his wife’s driver’s licenses, car tags and other documents to the Calabash address.

All of a sudden, he said, he went from living in a resort area to a farming community because the post office said so.

Letters exchanged

Beall complained to Mason Anderson, president of Caw Caw Land Development Corp. and the developer of Brunswick Plantation.

Anderson said he was unaware the development’s newest phase had an Ash postal designation. In August, Anderson sent a letter to McIntyre asking for help.

“Unfortunately, I have homeowners moving into the new area with the Ash postal designation,” Anderson wrote. “They understood that their postal address would be Calabash the same as the balance of the community.”

Anderson added that had he realized the discrepancy earlier, he would have personally requested a ZIP code change.

Seaside postmaster Kevin Norris told Anderson he was unable to make the change.

David Fields, district manager for the Mid-Carolinas District of the U.S. Postal Service, also notified Anderson in August the requested change could not be granted.

“The Postal Service only considers requests for ZIP Code changes from municipal governments, however Brunswick Plantation nor the area in question is an incorporated community,” Fields wrote.

The request would require ZIP code boundaries “to be intertwined between Ash and Calabash,” Fields wrote. “I regret this would not be operationally feasible. I must conclude your request would not improve service to our customers nor would it prove financially prudent for the Postal Service.”

‘Closer to Calabash’

In a subsequent letter to McIntyre, Anderson reiterated, “I do not need Brunswick Plantation being served by two different post offices, with the net result indicating that some people in the community live in Calabash, which is a well-known coastal designation, and some people live in Ash, which is an unincorporated farming area of Brunswick County. Ash is a wonderful community; however, Brunswick Plantation is more closely associated with the coastal community of Calabash.”

Anderson noted Brunswick Plantation has more than 1,000 residents and will eventually consist of between 5,000 and 10,000 people.

“A large number of these people are going to be unhappy that their addresses are not Calabash,” he wrote to McIntyre.

In October, Brunswick County administrator Marty Lawing wrote a letter to Fields stating the county board of commissioners supports the requested ZIP code change and urging Fields to reconsider his position.

Fields replied the postal service would survey the current 106 residents along Pea Landing, Longwood and No. 5 School roads to see if a majority would approve such a change since “ZIP code boundaries generally need to be geographically succinct.”

Beall doubts that approach will be approved by residents who are used to having an Ash address and who have no connections to Brunswick Plantation.

For now, he and Gallo continue to pick up their mail and are unsure if they will even be able to vote in this year’s presidential election.

“We don’t know where we vote, because we don’t know where we live,” Gallo said.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at llewis@brunswickbeacon.com