November 17, 2017

Patrick Szabo

 

Hillsboro may get its own ZIP code back in less than a year, thanks in part to help from several Virginia politicians.

The town on Wednesday sent a formal request to USPS to regain its ZIP code, which it lost in 2004. It lobbied for the currently unused 20133 ZIP code to be instated for delivery points north of Allder School Road, within a 73-square-mile area of northwestern Loudoun.

Along with the request, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) wrote the Postmaster General Megan Brennan. U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) wrote the USPS District Manager Jeffrey Becker.

“They’ve been extremely helpful to us,” Mayor Roger Vance said. “It was the issue that they felt they could help the most on.”

Kaine wrote that a unique ZIP code would not place additional operational burdens on the postal service and that the proposed boundaries align with election precincts. He also wrote that it might improve north-south delivery operations.

Comstock’s letter emphasized the need for a Hillsboro ZIP code because of the town’s recent expansion from about 55 acres to nearly 172.

Sen. Dick Black (R-13), Del. David LaRock (R-10), County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) and Supervisors Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) and Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) all also voiced their support.

The request was sent Wednesday in accordance with USPS guidelines that require a Nov. 15 submission. USPS has 60 days to respond. If approved, the new ZIP code would come into effect July 1 next year.

Vance said the biggest benefit the unique ZIP code would provide would be to eliminate the confusion that comes with having a shared ZIP code with Purcellville, since Hillsboro businesses have to use a Purcellville mailing address and emergency first responders sometimes make wrong turns on the way to scenes in town.

Most recently, the day before the request was submitted, Vance said an emergency vehicle mistakenly turned toward Purcellville on its way to a fatal wreck on Rt. 9 just west of town.

“The first thing they see is an address in Purcellville,” he said. “We’ve seen that many times.

Before the town lost its 20134 ZIP code in 2004, the postal service was already moving out of town. When the Hillsboro post office closed in 1984, residents switched to post office boxes in the town’s Hill Tom Market for the next two decades until they were all moved to Purcellville 13 years ago. The town has used a shared 20132 ZIP code ever since.

“It seemed like it was a gradual loss of the ZIP code,” Vance said. “It’s been a very annoying situation for people for years.”

Once USPS reviews the request, it will send a survey to residents within the proposed ZIP code area asking if they are in favor of the change.

Vance said he expects to get a response from the postal service by February, when the Purcellville post office is already scheduled to review its current courier routes.

“We’re hopeful that this will happen relatively quickly,” Vance said. “I think it’s logical.”

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