SLW Mailhouse Project May Lead to Address Change

Trees in bloom outside the Seven Lakes West mailhouse. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

By John Nagy

Insider Writer

Seven Lakes West has begun renovation and expansion of its community mailhouse that will add space for new residents and potentially eliminate the need for residents to have two addresses.

Renovation of the mailhouse, located just past the front gate entrance, began in late April and is expected to be finished this month, community manager Adam Bryant said in an email to property owners.

When complete, the mailhouse is expected to have about 1,700 mailboxes, one for every buildable property. The current mailhouse has just 1,120 boxes — along with a few dozen larger parcel boxes — and has been maxed out for almost two years. Since the postal service does not deliver to individual houses in the community, new residents have had to rent a mailbox from the post office in West End or use some other method to receive mail.

The community’s board of directors originally designed and planned to add a wing to the mailhouse for more than $300,000, but that project was shelved when it ran afoul of county requirements for additional parking.

The new plan will reconfigure the existing space at a fraction of the cost. Work is largely occurring on weekends, when the mailhouse is not as busy.

The biggest change, though, could mean an end to property owners having both a physical street address and a mailing address. Right now, property owners with a box in the mailhouse receive their mail at an assigned box. That box does not correspond to their physical address. Over the years, that has led to confusion and lost mail and packages for some residents.

In presentations and meetings last month to property owners, Seven Lakes West officials say the renovation will allow boxes to be reassigned to match physical addresses.

The property association’s board of directors last month held community meetings to discuss the changes and has been conducting a survey of residents. The board ultimately will make the decision of whether to make the address change or leave the situation as it is, said board president Frank Ingham.

“The board doesn’t have an opinion,” Ingham said during the April 16 community meeting. “The right thing to do is to bring it up to the community. We do this now and review it or it’s done.”

Members of the property association’s infrastructure committee began meeting with postal officials earlier this year about changing over to one address. 

Making this happen largely is a matter of logistics and reordering mailboxes to group them more geographically. The association would then need to change all locks on the boxes and issue new keys to box holders. The cost to rekey mailboxes and provide new keys is estimated to be $7,700.

Tim Theis, a Seven Lakes West resident who has been researching the issue and led the April presentations, presented a number of pros and cons for residents to consider.

“The fix,” he said, “won’t keep all packages from being misdelivered.”

Residents’ views so far have been mixed, with some saying going to one address will reduce confusion over lost or misdirected mail. Other residents, however, shared concerns about having to make numerous change-of-address notifications and the need to reshuffle mailboxes.

The Seven Lakes West board has not yet said when it will vote on the matter.

Contact John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or