Relocation possible for Glenville post office

Glenville residents could soon be facing a relocation for their neighborhood post office branch. With its lease set to expire this fall, the U.S. Postal Service is on the lookout for space within the zip code area.

A change is not certain, though, and negotiations are ongoing between the Postal Service and the landlord of the property where the branch is located on 25 Glen Ridge Road near Stop & Shop. But if it happens, this would end up being the second major relocation of a town post office within the last few years, as the Greenwich Avenue post office recently moved to 44 Amogerone Crossway near the top of the avenue after selling the historic building it had called home. Since the move would require public notice, Postal Service representatives appeared before the Board of Selectmen at its May 22 meeting.

“Regrettably, our landlord has informed us that they have other plans for the building,” Joseph Mulvey, a real estate specialist working with the United States Postal Service, said. “As such, the Postal Service began the process to relocate. … However, this week our landlord has offered us a proposal to remain in the existing building and we are exploring that. While we and the landlord discuss that possibility, without a signed agreement in hand, we must also continue forward for the possibility of relocation.”

If an agreement can’t be reached, Mr. Mulvey said, they would be looking to relocate to a building nearby. When asked by First Selectman Peter Tesei and Selectman David Theis, Mr. Mulvey said they would be looking for a building of approximately 1,000 square feet of available space that would then have to be modified for Postal Service use. Mr. Mulvey added that the goal is to rent space rather than buy and granted it was “highly unlikely” that they would be able to find space of exactly 1,000 feet. Because of that, the Postal Service would be willing to look at something a little bit smaller or up to 1,500 square feet in a location so it could insure that anything people can do now at the post office they would be able to do at a new location.

“The services available to customers at the present location would continue at any new location,” Mr. Mulvey said.

Mr. Mulvey said a key part of any property they look at is that there would have to be a second way to access the building beyond just the front entrance so they could have customers come in through the main door and have the mail come in through the second access point. That would mean having either a side or back entrance or the ability to have a loading dock. If the property is not handicapped accessible as is, it would be up to either the Postal Service or the landlord to make it that way.

When asked by Selectman Drew Marzullo, Mr. Mulvey said the Postal Service would not have to go through the same town land use approval process that others would. As part of the federal government, he said, it was “immune to some local zoning and other planning processes.” Mr. Mulvey explained that if a new location is found that needs to be built out, plans would be submitted to the town’s Housing Department to make sure they are up to code, but the Postal Service did not have to apply for a building permit. It would still be subject to inspection from the town, however.

Mr. Marzullo also asked whether the Postal Service’s intention was to relocate, but Mr. Mulvey only said it was “our intent to keep a post office in the Glenville area.” He said the Postal Service would follow both the process of negotiating with the landlord and pursuing a new location simultaneously in case the new discussions about the current building fall through. Mr. Marzullo pressed on this, asking if there had ever been a case where a new location could not be found in the area and what the plan would be then.

“We will deal with that at that time,” Mr. Mulvey said.

Mr. Tesei said there was a vacancy inside the shopping complex where the post office is currently located, but Mr. Mulvey said he had looked at it very briefly and didn’t think it would be sufficient for the Postal Service’s space needs. He did add that this was only a quick look, and he would examine it further as part of the process.

The post office has been at the Glen Ridge Road location since the early 1960s. According to Mr. Mulvey, the lease for the building expires at the end of October. The process for moving a post office includes the public notification and presentation at a meeting like the Board of Selectmen’s and also allowing for a public comment period. That is under way now and any member of the public wishing to comment may do so by writing to Mr. Mulvey at 2 Congress Street, Room 8, Milford MA 01757. Public comments are being accepted through June 6, and any comment must reference the Glenville post office at 25 Glen Ridge Road by name.

Notice about the comment period and the potential relocation is also posted at the post office itself and is online at the town’s website at Greenwichct.org. Mr. Tesei also pledged any assistance from the board that the Postal Service might need.

“Glenville is one of several unique villages that make up the town of Greenwich, and certainly having a post office there is an attribute that represents the village,” Mr. Tesei said.

Mr. Mulvey has had previous experience working with the selectmen on this. Mr. Tesei noted they had met about the Greenwich Avenue move, which opened up the building for sale to Restoration Hardware. Earlier this month the company officially opened its flagship location there, calling it The Gallery at the Historic Post Office (see related story on p14A), and Mr. Tesei said the process “worked out exceedingly well.”

 

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