More Island mail mixups

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Councilman Peter Reich (right) with Oliver Longwell, Congressman Tim Bishop’s communications director, at Wednesday’s meeting to discuss problems resulting from ZIP code confusion and post office box number addresses rather than home delivery.

Ready for more Island mail problems?

If you’re a frequent traveler, you may have what’s known as an enhanced drivers license — or for those without a license — an enhanced identification card — to facilitate your visits without a passport to certain countries. But if you’re a Shelter Island resident, you may encounter difficulties in getting an enhanced license or ID card because — you guessed it — Islanders are recognized by post office box numbers, not street addresses.

Why would you want an enhanced driver’s license or identification card? It costs  a lot less than a passport — about $30 as opposed to $130 — and is embedded with a radio frequency identification that would enable you to cross borders into Canada, Mexico, Caribbean countries and Bermuda more quickly than with a regular driver’s license.

You’ll still need a passport if traveling by plane, but the enhanced documentation can facilitate cruise ship, train or vehicle travel.

Now comes the rub for Islanders. You need to prove your New York address to get the documentation. Chances are, most of the usual ways in which people prove their addresses are through bills sent to them at their houses. But Shelter Islanders get most of their bills addressed to the post office boxes.

There are a wealth of address identifications accepted by the Department of Motor Vehicles for an enhanced license or ID, but none allow use of a post office box in place of a street address. For some Islanders, that hitch in proving they are New York State residents may prohibit their ability to get enhanced documentation.

Councilman Peter Reich, in an email to Randy Sauber, manager of address management systems for the Postal Service, pointed out the difficulty at a meeting at Town Hall Wednesday night meant to address mail . He took issue with Mr. Sauber’s comment at the meeting called to discuss mail problems on the Island. Mr. Sauber said that in communities like Shelter Island where there is no home delivery of mail, a Post office box would be considered a “residence.”

Not the case for the DMV.

A number of attendees at Wednesday night’s meeting wanted to know how other communities without home mail delivery overcome problems, but Mr. Sauber had no answer to that or other questions. Despite the USPS receiving copies of complaints residents have filed with Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and those that came to the Reporter, Mr. Sauber wasn’t prepared to offer any solutions. His response was only that he would turn over the concerns to his superiors who would address the issues.