Growth causes postal confusion in Chelsea

Some Chelsea residents are having an identity crisis.

One person might live in Chelsea while their next door neighbor is a resident of Pelham.

Or, as in the case of Kevin Hughins, you might live in Chelsea but have a Sterrett address.

&8220;Most of it is identity,&8221; Hughins said. &8220;It&8217;s also weird when you have to go to a post office 15 miles away, but Chelsea&8217;s is less than a mile down the road.&8221;

Hughins is president of the Forest Parks Homeowners Association. All of the residents in this subdivision have Sterrett addresses, although they were annexed into the city in 2001.

Under postmaster general rules, cities can only apply to change addresses every ten years.

Chelsea incorporated in 1996, so the city currently has another chance to apply for those changes.

&8220;I imagine the process might be time consuming and they might say our post office is too small,&8221; Mayor Earl Niven said. &8220;My response would be to build a larger post office.&8221;

Niven said he wants the city to begin working with Spencer Bachus to start the process in Washington.

He said currently it just causes too much inconvenience and confusion for residents to live in the city limits of Chelsea but have addresses in Columbiana, Sterrett, Wilsonville, Westover or Birmingham.

Niven believes the issue could go beyond inconvenience.

&8220;Chelsea might be losing out on taxes as well,&8221; Niven said. &8220;Any time someone purchases something from, say a building supplies store, the company would apply a municipal tax. But if the person&8217;s address is Columbiana and not Chelsea, then Chelsea loses money.&8221;

Mayor Niven hopes to begin the process before the end of the year.