Around half of Carrboro’s residents use the ZIP code 27510 in their address, but the other half, including some residents close to downtown Carrboro, use Chapel Hill’s 27516 ZIP code, said Julie Eckenrode, assistant to the town manager and a spokeswoman for the town.
“Those boundaries were set quite a long time ago,” she said. “Some areas are even close to town hall and have a Chapel Hill ZIP code.”
Eckenrode said electronic surveys will be distributed to residents in the contested area on Tuesday in order to gauge their interest in changing the ZIP code.
Most of the properties that fall into this category are residential, said Alderman Damon Seils.
Alderwoman Bethany Chaney said some residents want to get their ZIP code changed as a matter of identity.
“Some in the core of downtown feel like there is a confusion when identifying with Carrboro but have a Chapel Hill address,” Chaney said.
Eckenrode said the Carrboro Board of Aldermen will discuss the survey’s results in May or June.
The survey will allow the board to determine whether to call in the United States Postal Service to start the process of changing the ZIP code.
The United States Postal Service would then take another survey of the residents to make the final call on the change, she said.
If the United States Postal Service conducted its own survey, the government agency would then have a 45-day window to review it and make a decision on the change, Eckenrode said.
She said the last time the vote was taken was in the 90s. The issue did not garner enough votes from residents to pass.
The United States Postal Service can only take the vote every 10 years.
The possibility of the change was brought back up in September.
“We saw some areas more interested in the change than others,” she said.
Chaney said some residents are dismayed by the idea and that the survey will tell the board whether it is something residents really want.
“For some, it would just be a pain to change their mailing address, mortgage address, business correspondence address, driver’s license and so on,” she said.
Seils said the change would be a useful communication tool for engaging Carrboro residents.
“The change would make it easier for a number of civic engagements,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the results of the survey and hearing where people stand on the issue.”
Since Carrboro can only take the survey once every 10 years, Chaney said it is important that residents respond to the survey in a way that reflects their true opinions on the matter.
“This is something to help figure out if we should further engage the post office,” she said.