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New $300 Mailbox Requirement Delivers Mixed Reviews

A recent decision by The Shires Homeowners Association to require residents purchase $300 mailboxes creates tension for some.

In May the Westchase Community Association Voting Members approved new mailboxes for The Shires neighborhood. With taxes, the mailboxes cost about $300 each. The new mailboxes must be purchased by Sept. 30. Residents who fail to comply could be charged $1,000.

On The Shires Facebook Community Page the new mailbox requirement has been met with agreement from many in the community.

"I've waited 9 years for a nice mailbox. I can wait another month!!!!" wrote Linda Coudriet Landsman on The Shires Facebook page.

But everyone isn't so excited about the new mailboxes, and fear the requirement could trickle into other Westchase communities.

Dana Felice, whose mother lives in The Shires, says she was recently asked - and refused to sign - a petition to add $300 mailboxes to Bennington, where she lives.

"It's amazing that during these times, with the economic climate the way it is people would be asked to make such an expensive purchase," Felice said.

Westchase Community Association Voting Member Patrick Knight, who has since moved, sparked the new mailbox measure earlier this year. The more than 20-member board, comprised of representatives from all the Westchase neighborhoods, had to approve the issue before it could be mandated.

As a part of the process, the neighborhood was surveyed. Out of 235 homes in The Shires, 126 voted "Yes", while 41 voted "No," according to survey results published on The Shires' Facebook page.

Of the WCA Voting Members, 22 attending members votied in favor of the new mailbox.

So what do you think? Should residents be required to purchase a $300 mailbox? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

The Neighbor July 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Wow! I have a lot to say on this topic being that the mailbox is the first thing you see when you enter the neighborhood... First, I am very happy that some of our fellow residents took the initiative to improve our neighborhood, so that home buyers may see our part of Westchase as comparable and hopefully pay comparable prices. Second, the white mailboxes where definitely dated and in many cases dilapidated (many beyond repair)... most were crooked, higher, lower, severely damaged, not matching, rotted, and patch-worked - as a result something needed done. Since you cannot just buy a new "Westchase white" mailbox, you would have had to make one yourself, or hire someone... "Making one yourself" is what may have led to some of the issues already mentioned.. To hire someone, the cost would meet or exceed $300, so the monetary argument is a mute point in this argument... Plus, $300 is really not a lot of money... Anyone who actually repairs their home knows that spending $300 is actually very easy to accomplish at a hardware store and you typically get much less than a mailbox of this caliber out of your purchase. Third, have you seen the signage around Westchase? Black and Gold is symbol of elegance that Westchase has chosen to set ourself apart and distinguish ourselves, following in suite with mailboxes only makes sense. My answer is simply, why has this not already been completed... it is a no-brainer!
Robert Sands July 24, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Word to you - expensive mailboxes begin to look like crap over time, just like inexpensive ones do. The only difference is it costs more to replace them. We live in Waterchase and have these exact same mailboxes. Once the weedwacker starts chipping away the paint on the post, and the paint color wears, there is not comparable paint out there you can buy to repaint the box, so the only option is to replace. Our box has been replaced 3 times in 8 years...
BlueSky July 24, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Wait until someone runs over your box, someone plays maibox "baseball" in our neighborhood again (just recently about two dozen mailboxes were knocked down), or as the Robert stated, you have to repair/replace it, you'll be begging for those cheap/delapidated boxes back. The $300 price is shortsighted, it won't last forever. We could also discuss the inappropriate method of the vote collections but what's the point now.
Nicole Hutcheson July 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Hi BlueSky, what issue do you have with how the votes were collected?
BlueSky July 24, 2012 at 02:12 PM
They were only supposed to go around and ask for "yes", "no" votes. There were comments that they campaigned and influenced votes instead.
The Neighbor July 24, 2012 at 02:58 PM
So you are saying that you had to replace your Black and Gold mailbox every 2 years and 8 months on average due to the paint? What subdivision do you live in? Something does not sound right with this, especially since most subdivisions have not had these for 8 years.... On a side note.. have you called sherwin williams? They can mix almost any paint and even put it in an aerosol can for you...
The Neighbor July 24, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I can personally say that nobody influenced (at least in my neighborhood) with anything besides of piece of paper asking for a yes or no, a picture of the mailbox, a friendly smile, and a lot of information. I am curious what you mean by influenced, because if someone offered money or services for a "yes" vote, I am suddenly wanting to live in your neighborhood.
April Deutsch-Biss July 24, 2012 at 03:44 PM
$300 would do a lot for people who really need it. It's a shame how consumer driven our society is. We are all going to leave this world someday - you won't be able to take the mailbox with you. I'm happy that I don't have a $300 mailbox. Namaste
Robert Sands July 24, 2012 at 03:51 PM
As I indicated, I live in Waterchase, not Westchase. The first replacement was due to it getting hit by a landscaper's truck, which bent the box, the second replacement, only 3 years later, was due to fading of the paint, and missing paint where the weedeater hit the post - called out by the HOA. The point is, expensive mailboxes are expensive to replace. I did not try to have the paint matched, as I did not want to run the risk of an HOA fine when they came back to inspect my fix - not worth the hassle or the fines that can build up by overzealous HOA Board Members...
The Neighbor July 24, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I believe the ones that are the subject of this discussion (not pictured) in Bennington and Woodbay are more modular... By this I mean that if the bottom portion gets destroyed by an overzealous lawn mower then you can replace just that piece... They are not a single cast piece of Aluminum, so this should defray repair costs... Also, unless your HOA has spelled out the exact paint, the best they can do is hold you to is it being black or whatever they wrote in the HOA Covenant... Our form (I still have a copy) says "All Bennington Mailboxes shall be black aluminum with black aluminum posts..." So if the paint chips the home owner needs to touch it up with black paint.... I am hoping they are smart enough to not use a flat paint, but I know some will. Next time read the HOA rules that they wrote and make sure your rapair falls within them and you are good to go. Also make sure not to use chlorine (bleach) on aluminum... they do not mix well and will destroy your mailbox.
Robert Sands July 24, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Ours are "modular" as well. That cost was for the box only, which look exactly like the one pictured. Our mailboxes are a coppery/pewter color, and nothing I could find was close enough to paint it myself. As to the HOA, the rules get interpreted however suits the current group in power. Trying to fight an HOA is like nailing jello to a wall. There is a point where the $300 excess is better spent then the time needed to argue the point.
BlueSky July 24, 2012 at 06:26 PM
A comment was made that one of the people collecting votes was able to "convince" residents to vote in favor. I'll leave it at that.
BlueSky July 24, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Neighbor, keep in mind that the cost to replace any one piece will be more than initial cost since it will ordered by one resident, not the whole neighborhood at once, allowing for a bulk discount.
Robert Sands July 24, 2012 at 07:09 PM
If it is the one in the picture, mine was actually closer to $350, and if you want them to install it, the price goes up.
The Neighbor July 24, 2012 at 07:36 PM
BlueSky, I thought that what you said may be correct, but since I did not know I wanted to have accurate information BEFORE I spoke, so I called Creative Mailboxes and spoke with Keith to see if what you said about a single piece costing more than the initial cost of the entire mailbox was true... Here is how it shakes out in price... If an overzealous lawn mower hit the base/boot and you had to replace just that 1 piece then that would cost between $45 and $75 (depending on the neighborhood / design)... I also asked about mailbox baseball and he did say that replacing the actual box is expensive at about $150, but if you hit that, more than likely you would hurt yourself before it broke, but if someone tried (and managed not to hurt themselves first) they may actually break the brackets instead of the actual box... those brackets cost between $50 and $75 depending on the style/neighborhood. The prices I mentioned are for 1 off purchases and not volume pricing.

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