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Despite email, Facebook, Instagram, text messages and the myriad of other formats of electronic communication, there's still something deeply satisfying about receiving good old USPS mail. Perhaps we don't want to see everything in the mailbox, but we all enjoy getting those holiday cards, birthday cards, packages and the fun stuff.
For many residents in the community who purchased some of the original homes in Cambridge Lakes, your mailboxes are now 10-15 years old...and while they may look great above-ground, the cedar posts that many mailboxes use in the community have significant potential to dry-rot below the surface of the soil around them, where you can't see it. Additionally, a decade or more of weed-whacking around the mailbox post can cause a surprising amount of damage. We again encourage residents to check the condition of their mailbox posts--you can carefully try to wiggle the main post, or even better, dig around the base of the post and check it for rot. The best time to replace a post is now, when the soil is not frozen...as a mid-winter mailbox catastrophe isn't fun for anyone!
Based on the significant number of mailboxes that are rotting below the surface and not being replaced, the Village will no longer be replacing mailbox posts in the right of way; residents are responsible for that replacement. However, we have worked with the homeowners associations on a way to improve the quality of your mailboxes. In addition to permitting use of cedar posts, residents are encouraged to use "cedar-toned" treated lumber posts. These posts have the same great appearance as cedar, and offer the enhanced benefit of having greater lifespan and rot resistance. Residents are also encouraged to either shield the base of their mailbox post, or maintain a small area of gravel or non-grass landscaping at the base of the post, to avoid weed-whacker damage. (If you're planting in that area, we recommend use of a salt-tolerant plant).
We're sharing this information with you again because a substantial number of residents are starting to experience age-related issues with their mailboxes...and unless you carefully inspect, the issues are not apparent until the mailbox literally breaks off at the base. The Village does not require a permit for mailbox replacement. If you live in an area with an HOA, you will want to comply with their regulations...and for all residents, you will want to comply with the Village's mailbox regulations. For your reference, those are copied below.
1. Mailboxes shall be installed in accordance with the following setbacks:
a. An eighteen inch (18") setback from the back of the curb to the face of the mailbox support, or if no curb exists, from the edge of the road pavement, or from the edge of a mailbox turnout (either paved or gravel), or from the edge of a gravel shoulder, closest to the mailbox.
b. A maximum of forty two inch (42") and a minimum of thirty six inch (36") clearance between the road pavement and the bottom of the mailbox.
c. Even with or up to a maximum six inch (6") setback from the back of the curb to the face of the mailbox, or if no curb exists, a minimum six inch (6") setback to a maximum twelve inch (12") setback from the edge of the road pavement, or from the edge of a mailbox turnout (either paved or gravel), or from the edge of a gravel shoulder.
d. Mailboxes and their supports shall not encroach in or upon any public sidewalk.
e. Mailboxes shall meet the published standards of the United States postal services bulletin 21997 (5-6-99) as well as Illinois department of transportation standards along state highways.
2. Mailbox Supports:
a. Mailbox supports shall be constructed of nominal four inch by four inch (4" x 4") or four and one-half inch (41/2") diameter wood posts, or one and one-half inch (11/2") to two inch (2") diameter standard steel or aluminum pipe posts, buried no more than twenty four inches (24") into the ground. Said supports shall be constructed in accordance with the standards delineated in United States postal service bulletin 21997 (5-6-99). Unacceptable support structures include, but are not limited to, brick, block, stone or concrete masonry columns, wagon wheels, or steel pipes.
3. Mailbox Maintenance:
a. The mailbox shall be securely attached to its support to prevent it from separating from the support if struck by a vehicle, and shall be regularly maintained by the property owner to ensure continuing compliance with these regulations.
b. In the case of wooden mailbox supports (4 inch by 4 inch wooden post), the mailbox shall be supported by a minimum of a two inch (2") thick (e.g., 2 inch by 4 inch) horizontal support attached to the wooden post, with the horizontal support being augmented by a minimum of a two inch (2") thick (e.g., 2 inch by 4 inch) angled support installed at a forty five degree (45°) angle to the vertical wooden post and to the horizontal support. The wooden post, horizontal support and angled support shall be connected by galvanized or stainless steel screws, minimum two inches (2") in length; nails or untreated (e.g., drywall) screws, and screws of less than two inches (2") in length are prohibited. Use of reinforcing galvanized or painted hardware (metal angle supports, etc.) is encouraged. Wood used for wooden mailbox supports shall be of a weather resistant type (e.g., pressure treated wood or cedar), and shall be treated with a weather resistant sealant or protectant. Wooden supports that are rotted or whose connecting hardware (screws, etc.) are rusted or broken shall be repaired or replaced as necessary to comply with these requirements.
c. In the case of nonwooden mailbox supports or nonwooden materials attached to a wooden post, the supports shall be regularly maintained and shall be constructed of weather resistant (e.g., galvanized or painted metal, plastic, aluminum, stainless steel) materials, joined with galvanized or stainless steel hardware, and regularly maintained. Mailbox supports that are rusted, broken, corroded, cracked or otherwise in disrepair shall be repaired or replaced as necessary to comply with these requirements.