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BCC approves process to eliminate postal confusion

Some Clay Hill residents use Jacksonville as home address

Posted 10/19/23

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Residents of Clay Hill have been frustrated and confused by the U.S. Post Office for many years.

A seemingly slight detail has led to significant inconvenience for the …

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BCC approves process to eliminate postal confusion

Some Clay Hill residents use Jacksonville as home address


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Residents of Clay Hill have been frustrated and confused by the U.S. Post Office for many years.

A seemingly slight detail has led to significant inconvenience for the unincorporated community, who must write “Jacksonville” when sending and receiving postal correspondence.

Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Betsy Condon shared her constituents’ concerns at the last BCC meeting.

“I have residents who go vote in Clay County that have voted in every election during the past (several) years, and when (they go to polling locations), our election workers will say, ‘your driver’s license (reads) Jacksonville, Florida. You can’t vote here,’ That’s why they’re asking for (a specific designation on the U.S. Board of Geographic Names),” she said. 

Condon represents residents in Clay Hill. She called for action, saying no legislation is scheduled even with U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean’s current leadership.

“We are on the fourth Congressman in Clay Hill that they have been asking for this,” she said. Condon also said the ZIP Code 32234 serves other municipalities, such as Baldwin, Maxville and Jacksonville.

A motion was unanimously approved to set a two-step process for Clay Hill.

First, securing a specific designation for Clay Hill on the U.S. Board of Geographic Names will be required. That lengthy process for the county will entail detailed descriptions of Clay Hill, such as its current usage, latitude and longitude, and also the unincorporated community’s proposed name, Clay Hill.

The second step will create an “alternate preferred last line,” which is utilized in some areas of the United States where a single ZIP Code is used for delivery in multiple cities or municipalities. This designation will finally enable residents, some of whom waited for the change, to choose “Clay Hill” as part of their mailing address once the process with the Postal Service is completed.

Clay Hill isn’t the only community in the county that has faced issues of this kind. The second step of Clay Hill’s process was also given to another community in the county that has a claim for its own identity: Oakleaf Plantation, which is registered on the U.S. Board of Geographic Names but still required to use Orange Park.

Like Clay Hill, Oakleaf Plantation will have to clear hurdles to obtain an alternate preferred last line.

“There is a large part of my community that identifies with Orange Park, and they have very specific needs, and then, there is the Northwest part of the county (Oakleaf Plantation) that has a completely different set of needs. They wanted the delineation, and I have no issue with them (requesting the alternate preferred last line). It’s a pretty simple ask,” Commissioner Alexandra Compere said.

Bryan Campbell, the District 4 Director for Bean, updated the council on recent progress and provided insight into the process.

He said his office was approached at the beginning of the year in hopes of resolving the matter, reiterating the simple yet tedious process of completing the two-step change. After Clay Hill secures specific designation from the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, residents will be free to include their home as part of their mailing addresses, providing much-needed clarity. 

Compere reiterated her support for Oakleaf Plantation in their fight to create an alternate preferred last line, which was often referred to by officials as an “alias” during the meeting. “I (believe) it makes perfect sense to afford them the alias. Oakleaf Plantation is a very specific part of the county, and if they want the designation, (the county) should work with the federal delegation to make it happen. I’m happy to do that,” she said.

Campbell also said Fleming Island is technically part of Orange Park, with residents having the option to write Fleming Isle, Fleming Island or Orange Park on their mail.

“This is really exciting. The county has a little work to do to define the outline for Clay Hill and get it on the United States Board of Geographic Names. There’s a step one and a step two, but we will petition it to the Postal Service and get it done,” Campbell said.