Annapolis area to get new ZIP code

7,000 Broadneck Peninsula residents switching to 21409

April 01, 2005|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Annapolis-area residents who live east of the Severn River will have a new ZIP code beginning in July, a change necessitated by rapid growth in the city and its outskirts, said officials of the U.S. Postal Service.

About 7,000 residents of the Broadneck Peninsula will use 21409 to replace the 21401 code they have used since 1963. Residents of downtown Annapolis will keep 21401.

"We're approaching the maximum number of people who can be served under the existing code, so in order to maintain our level of service, we have to add a new five-digit code," said Bob Novak, a spokesman for the postal service.

The postal service delivers about 250,000 parcels a day to about 25,800 locations in the 21401 code.

The change takes effect July 1, but residents still will get mail sent to the old code for a year after the shift, Novak said. After that, mail sent to the old code would have to be forwarded and might take longer than usual to arrive.

"Usually, by the end of that time, most people make the change," Novak said.

Utility companies, banks, newspapers, catalog suppliers and other bulk mailers will shift when they perform semiannual address verifications with the postal service, he said. Postal officials urged area businesses to use up old stationery before the changeover so they can use the correct code when ordering new supplies.

The postal service will send an informational post card to all affected customers and also plans to hold a community meeting to explain the change, Novak said.

Postal officials said they don't expect the change to create chaos.

"This is a change in the ZIP code only," said Annapolis Postmaster George Olsen. "You will not be getting a new address, and this will not affect post office box holders."

Olsen said all residents with the new code still will have Annapolis addresses.

City and county officials see no problem for them.

"The line of demarcation selected makes perfect sense," said Annapolis spokeswoman Jan Hardesty. "It is roughly the same boundary that divides the school and county council districts."

The postal service adds 30 to 40 ZIP codes a year nationwide. The Baltimore metropolitan area last got a new code in 1997 in Elkridge.

"We really prefer not to make the change, because it's a time-consuming process," Novak said, though he added that the shift won't require additional staff.

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