Zap That ZIP

July 18, 1991

The development of ZIP codes by the U.S. Postal Service was intended to simplify the delivery of mail. But now, it seems, the Annapolis City Council thinks a ZIP code should confer a geographic imprimatur, too.

Council members voted 4-3 Monday night to encourage the postal service to limit Annapolis ZIP codes to the incorporated city's boundaries. Theoretically, backers said, that would mean someone just over the line in, say, booming, unincorporated Parole, somehow would be precluded from using "Annapolis" as a postal identity. Never mind that far more people have heard of Annapolis than Parole, or Cape St. Claire, or any one of a dozen other communities constituting greater Annapolis.

Yet in broaching this non-issue, Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8, argued fuzzily, in our opinion, that those outside the city limits who use the Annapolis name can benefit without paying city taxes. The resolution says ZIP codes that cross the boundary nullify "the unique character of the city of Annapolis" and are turning our state capital into "a vaguely described geographical area."

Right. Just think how many small businesses and individuals would flock back within city limits if suddenly they couldn't use "Annapolis" in their address any more.

It's all well and good to be a community booster and fight for a community's good name. But Alderman John R. Hammond, R-Ward 1, was thinking more clearly in casting his vote against the resolution. "The height of parochialism," he called the resolution, adding: "In this day and age, when we're trying to build cooperative relations with governments, we're going to go out and pour gas on the fire and say this is our Annapolis and only our Annapolis."

He's right. The resolution is off-base, but thankfully, a resolution is not a law. Postal officials who receive this jewel ought to let it zip right on by.

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