April 4, 2018
After two years of work, Hillsboro is getting its postal identity back.
Starting this week, letters and parcels addressed to some 2,000 homes and businesses in northwest Loudoun may be sent to Hillsboro, VA, rather than to Purcellville. Town leaders hope that, soon, GPS and mapping systems will direct visitors to “Hillsboro,” too.
That change comes more than a decade after the U.S. Postal Service consolidated Hillsboro’s ZIP code into Purcellville’s 20132 ZIP code. Ever since, residents as far north at Loudoun Heights have been identified as living in Purcellville—15 miles away.
That’s increasingly been cited as a concern in recent years, especially by owners of tourist-centric rural business who regularly dealt with confused patrons who were steered far field on their journey. Starting in 2016, the newly formed Greater Hillsboro Business Alliance and Mayor Roger Vance and the Town Council began work to address the concern. They got strong support from county government leaders and from Loudoun’s congressional delegation.
In a compromise that was implemented April 1, Hillsboro will continue sharing the 20132 ZIP code with Purcellville, but Hillsboro can be used in the address of homes and businesses in the area.
Vance said it’s a welcome change and one that could be more quickly and easily achieved than pressing to establish a separate ZIP code for the area. A full ZIP code change could take a year to complete, if the Postal Service agreed to do it, Vance said. “This is done. It has taken effect.”
“I think it was a good compromise with a lot less impact on individuals,” Vance said.
Under the Preferred Last Line program, residents are not required to change their addresses from Purcellville to Hillsboro—the mail will get to them either way. However, those in the Hillsboro and Between the Hills voting precincts—boundary lines that were used to delineate the special mailing area—can make the change. There is nothing else required, although a Frequently Asked Question document created by the town to walk residents through the transition suggests they should update the address on their drivers’ licenses at some point.
“It is one of the biggest issues that people raise,” Vance said of the addressing concern. During last year’s elections, the town collected hundreds of signatures on petitions requesting the change.
“It makes a difference for the identity—for the people coming to the area and for the growing businesses here,” Vance said, adding that supporting the success of the area’s farms, wineries and other ag-related businesses is vital to preserving the surrounding countryside and for initiatives aimed at branding Hillsboro as a special destination for businesses.
“This was a great collaborative effort between the United States Postal Service, Hillsboro Mayor Roger Vance, federal and local officials to ease confusion and put Hillsboro back on the map and back into the postal system,” U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock said. “The Town of Hillsboro is one of the jewels of Loudoun County. We are pleased with this development and we will continue to work with Mayor Vance and his team in the future if any confusion still persists after this important change.”
Three properties in the mailing area were exempted from the change and will be expected to continue using Purcellville as their primary address. Those are tracts on Short Hill and owned by the Town of Purcellville for its reservoir and water protection zone.