New Central Box Unit Mail Delivery System Pros and Cons

The United States Postal Service is requiring new developers in Nashville to switch to central box units (CBU) instead of individual curbside mail boxes in residential and commercial developments. What exactly is a CBU and what does this mean for you and your mail?

A CBU is a centralized unit of cubbies which can be individually locked and used for the delivery of mail. They consist of eight units or more depending on the number of residents in the neighborhood, with the mail carrier opening the back of the unit with a master key. They are typically custom built to blend in with the surrounding environment and neighborhood. Because the mailboxes are federal property, there are laws regarding mailboxes and their correct use.

CBUs are being required by the USPS and will be fully maintained and installed by developers and builders until the HOA takes over, so homeowners will not have to purchase, replace or build mailboxes. The corresponding address for each box is located inside each individual unit, visible to the mail carrier. When necessary, sidewalk and door delivery are permitted for special circumstances with approval from the U.S. Postal Service. This change brings some pros and cons to this new mail delivery system.

Some of the benefits include speed of delivery and traffic. The mail carrier will not travel from house to house delivering the mail. According to USPS, if the neighborhood’s mail is delivered at once, it may increase the speed of mail being delivered. Central box units reduce neighborhood traffic by eliminating numerous stops on each street.

Per USPS, unsecured curbside mailboxes are an easy target for thieves to steal personal and financial information. The CBU mail system is one way to keep your personal information secure. Secured CBUs keep you from having to put mail on hold when you leave town, as the mail is secured inside the unit.

While some residents prefer the security of a CBU, there are some cons such as distance and safety. Residents must travel to retrieve their mail, usually to the end of the street. There may be several CBUs per neighborhood depending on the amount of residences.

While there are obvious pros and cons, the system is the new norm with all new developments. The CBUs must be approved by the district designers or local postal manager and safely located in the neighborhood.  The mailboxes cannot be located close to an intersection or a busy traffic lane. There are placement standards to make sure the boxes are level and have the correct specifications for the concrete pads that surround the base of the unit so it’s accessible and maintained for all residents.

The USPS (federal government) requires that neighborhood developers purchase the CBUs and install them in all future developments and keys are then distributed to the homeowners. These units cost neighborhood developers thousands of dollars due to installation costs and other associated fees, as well as the cost to set aside a place for the units, etc.

These changes have been brought on swiftly by the government, and in many cases have taken affect in neighborhoods that were not aware of the change when the neighborhood was first planned. Developers have been required to quickly adapt, causing some confusion and frustration on the part of homeowners and community developers alike.

The Jones Company, like many other new home developers and builders, is doing their best to keep up with these changes as they come, as some variables have not even been decided yet by the post office.

For more information about CBUs, visit https://about.usps.com/what-we-are-doing/current-initiatives/delivery-growth-management/operations-developers-and-builders-guide.pdf.

For questions about the CBU update, please contact your local USPS office.