During snowplowing operations, Village of South Holland plows may damage or destroy privately owned mailboxes located in the street right of way. While there is no legal requirement for the Village to replace these boxes, and the State of Illinois and many municipalities do not, it is the practice of the Village to do so. In recent years, property owners have begun to install more expensive designer mailboxes and have asked the Village to install similar replacement mailboxes at a higher cost. In addition, the use of plastic mailboxes that are more easily damaged has increased. The purpose of this policy is to outline the circumstances under which the Village will replace private mailboxes or reimburse owners who wish to purchase more expensive replacements than the Village will provide.

1.   Eligibility for Reimbursement

In order to be eligible for replacement or reimbursement, the following conditions must be met:

  • The damaged mailbox and/or post must meet the requirements of the United States Postal Service in regard to construction and location
  • The damage must have been caused by direct contact with Village equipment. The Village will not repair or replace mailboxes or posts damaged solely by snow thrown by Village plowing or removal equipment
  • The property owner must notify the Village within 7 days of the date the damage occurred, unless the property owner/tenant/or individual responsible for the property was out of town at the time of occurrence. If the responsible party was out of town, the damage must be reported to the Village within 7 days of the individuals return.

2.   Policy

In the event that a mailbox and/or its support post is damaged or destroyed by Village equipment engaged in snow plowing or snow removal operations, the Village will offer the owner of the property the choice of one of the following options:

  • The Village will furnish and install a standard replacement post and/or mailbox
  • The Village will reimburse the owner in an amount equal to the cost of the standard post and/or mailbox offered by the Village

3.   Public Works Responsibilities

  • The Director of Public Works shall annually establish the dollar amount of reimbursement to be provided in accordance with section 1.2 above. This amount shall be based on the actual cost to the Village of a standard post and/or mailbox
  • The Public Works Department shall install a new box and/or post for those residents requesting this Where this work cannot be performed within seven days for any reason, including frozen ground, the Department shall either make temporary repairs or provide a temporary mailbox installation sufficient to allow the postal service to resume mail delivery. The permanent standard mailbox will be installed once the ground has thawed enough to allow installation.
  • The Department shall periodically review this policy and, when necessary, recommend changes or revisions to it to the Village Administrator and Village Trustees.

Reimbursement amount is currently $75.00.

4.   United States Postal Service Requirements

USPS regulations specify the location of mailboxes. Roadside mailboxes must be on the right-hand side of the road, determined by the direction the carrier will be traveling. The front of the mailbox must be set back from the shoulder of the road or curb by 12 inches.

Mailbox Installation Standards:

General Location:

Whenever possible, your mailbox should be located after your driveway opening. This location placement improves visibility, minimizes the amount of snow that comes off of the snow plow, and improves the approach for your mail carrier. The picture below further clarifies this preferred placement.

Mailbox Locations

Standard Mailbox Support Design:

The Village standard Support and Mailbox is an extended arm type 4” x 4” wood post with black metal mailbox. The picture below shows a free-swinging suspended mailbox.

Offset:

Mailboxes should be set back from the edge of the shoulder – regardless of whether the shoulder is gravel or paved. In other words, the face of the mailbox should be at least one foot (1’) back from the edge of the normally plowed surface of the street or the face of the curb. Greater offset distances are encouraged whenever possible to allow the mail carrier to get further out of traffic and to further minimize potential damage to your mailbox. The picture below shows a mailbox with a reasonable offset.

Mailbox Offset 1

Mailboxes in sidewalk areas should leave at least 36” behind the back of the box or the post, whichever is located furthest from the road. The picture below shows a mailbox with a reasonable offset behind it.

Mailbox Offset 2

Height:

According to USPS standards, a mailbox must be installed with the bottom of the mailbox located between 41 inches and 45 inches high above the surface of the shoulder. Snowplow height is 39 inches.