Almost 10 years after eastern Cary residents failed in their attempt to change their Raleigh ZIP code to a Cary one, they met Aug. 20 to kick off a new round of discussion about a possible switch.
About 20 residents from Braeloch, Carriage Woods and Trinity Grove attended the first open discussion, hosted by Carriage Woods homeowner Mitch Franklin. Many of the residents support the change from the 27607 ZIP code to 27513. The neighborhoods are in Cary town limits.
Supporters believe the ZIP code change would reduce confusion when explaining to others that they live in Cary but have a Raleigh address.
Braeloch resident Michele Leahy said the confusion has resulted in her missing important events, because hosts have written Cary instead of Raleigh on the invitations, knowing she lives in Cary.
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“I’ve gotten mail six, seven months later after the party or the wedding,” she said. “This is the kind of confusion that has driven me crazy for 18 years. I don’t see any advantages to having a Raleigh mailing address when we live in Cary.”
Franklin said supporters of the change also tout having greater chances of increased property values, all-Cary schools and hassle-free town services.
“One person emailed me and said that his kid was going to the (Cary) skate park, and they were having trouble proving they were town of Cary residents,” Franklin said.
Opponents say it would require address and driver’s license updates that would cost time and money and would lead to the loss of Raleigh benefits. Braeloch resident Paula Dickerson said changing ZIP codes could cause further confusion.
“All of a sudden you switch, and you’ve got to explain that,” she said. “I don’t know if the change is going to alleviate anything. If you truly have to have a Cary ZIP code, you should have bought in a Cary ZIP code.”
But some attendees wanted to stress that some of the pros of changing the ZIP code are not guaranteed, such having increased property values and all-Cary schools.
“Just use caution, because the school board tends to change things in very weird ways,” Trinity Woods resident Dale Holloway said.
Carriage Woods resident Harold Davis said while he had noticed significant differences in the property values between Raleigh and Cary, there was no guarantee changing the ZIP code would change the value of preexisting homes.
This isn’t the first attempt to change the ZIP code. In 2005, another proposal was submitted to the U.S. Postal Service, but a survey of the residents failed to reach a majority by seven votes. At the time, the survey also included Brandywine and Trinity Woods neighborhoods as well as areas south of Trinity Woods and north of Chapel Hill Road.
The U.S. Postal Service said a minimum time frame of 10 years must lapse between applications for ZIP code changes.
This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the first application.
But in 2010, residents were surveyed to see whether there was still interest in a change in response to school redistricting. In 2010, 75 percent of Carriage Woods residents, 68 percent of Trinity Grove residents, 63 percent of Braeloch residents, 57 percent of Brandywine residents and 26 percent of Trinity Woods residents still supported the initiative.
There were no positive responses from residents south of Trinity Woods and north of Chapel Hill Road.
But Dickerson questioned the accuracy of a five-year-old petition to gauge current support.
“The tentative feedback that I’ve gotten from people is similar to what was gotten five years ago,” Franklin said.
The neighbors will need to go through the Cary town manager’s office to submit a proposal to the U.S. Postal Service, which will determine if the proposal is feasible. If found to be feasible, USPS will send surveys to residents in the target area to see whether there is majority support.
Franklin said the change could take up to a year to go into effect if approved.
Franklin said he would continue to collect area residents’ opinions to see if there is still enough support. He will hold another meeting Sept. 17, at a time and location to be determined, to discuss the information he collects as well as next steps.
Kathryn Trogdon; 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon
Learn more at www.unitecary.com.