BY JOHN NAGY
Insider Staff Writer
A planned expansion of the Seven Lakes West mailhouse has been delayed indefinitely after the property association’s Board of Directors learned of new requirements that would “vastly exceed” what was budgeted.
The board had recently signed a contract to build a new wing to the current centralized mail center just inside the front gate and near the Community Center. But that work, expected to cost about $327,000, was halted last month after the board found out about new parking requirements it would have to add.
Board president Jack Roberts said Kenny Puckett of KP Builders learned from Moore County officials that the project would require one parking space for every 20 mailboxes, a ratio that would mean about 35 additional spaces. That requirement, recently implemented by the county, was not accounted for, Roberts said, saying the new expense would “vastly exceed” the budget.
No site work had yet begun. Roberts said Puckett learned of the changes when he applied for a building permit.
An L-shaped expansion to the mailhouse would have added new space for mail boxes as well as packages being delivered to the community. The expansion would have had two entrances and a centralized sorting space connected to the existing mail-sorting space.
The expansion project, which has been in the planning for a few years, is already significantly behind. Seven Lakes West has space for 1,120 mailboxes currently, and those have all been full for more than a year. Since the postal service does not deliver to individual houses in the community, new residents must rent a mailbox from the post office in West End or use some other method to receive mail.
Some residents have supported delaying an expansion anyway, saying the expense is not a critical one for the association. But adding more mailboxes could also end a major sore spot for residents: having two addresses.
Residents currently have a physical address and a mailing address corresponding to their box number in the mailhouse. That has led to confusion and lost mail and packages over the years. Prior board members have said the U.S. Postal Service has agreed to convert all mail to the physical address once the expansion is completed.
Roberts said the board will look to its Infrastructure Committee to review options for mail delivery.
In other infrastructure issues discussed during the May 15 work session, board members said they are likely going to schedule at least two “town hall” style meetings for residents and property owners to discuss plans for upgrading the back gate off N.C. 73. The board has budgeted more than $350,000 for an upgrade of the technology and equipment to allow visitors to access the development through the back gate.
Visitors and work crews are currently limited to accessing Seven Lakes West from the front gate off N.C. 211. However, widening work for that highway over the next several years is going to hamper access for visitors and residents. Upgrades at the back gate would allow greater access because traffic could avoid the construction zone.
The board’s Infrastructure and Safety and Security committees were planning a presentation to residents before the board’s May meeting. A report of that meeting will be available online at thesevenlakesinsider.com.
Contact John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.