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Webster wants to keep post office open

op frTo the Editor:

The letter from Mark Jamison of Webster that’s published in your most recent edition (“What does Webster hope to achieve with planning initiative,” Sept. 17) leaves readers with the impression that the town board refused to act to continue the lease of the post office, when that is clearly not the case.

Mr. Jamison’s letter is mostly about planning, but also discusses the post office situation. While he’s certainly entitled to his opinion about planning, he’s not entitled to his own set of facts regarding the town’s post office.

 

His letter to the editor states: “The town’s action or rather inaction is likely to result in the closure of the post office at its current location. I recently wrote the town government asking them to help me explore ways to keep the post office in its current location (I own the building that houses the post office). Not one of Webster’s town officials thought the matter was important enough to contact me…”

Mr. Jamison places blame on the town board for what he terms the likely closure of the post office. He said no town board members attempted to contact him about the issue. That is not true. 

 Mr. Jamison’s letter to Webster requesting we change zoning on his property is postmarked July 11 – just days before he was due to negotiate a new lease with the U.S. Postal Service. He stated in his letter that negotiations would begin July 16. 

 As a former Webster town board member, Mr. Jamison surely recognizes that rezoning requests and the public hearings associated with them cannot be accomplished in five days. Zoning changes take time and careful research, as well as public hearings. We owe it to the community to consider any zoning change carefully and thoughtfully. 

 We spent significant time and town funds in attorney research addressing his concerns. Ultimately, we sent Mr. Jamison the required form to request a zoning change. He opted not to submit it. 

On July 14, Town Clerk Danell Moses notified me that Mr. Jamison had mailed a letter to me at town hall. After reading it, I went to speak with Mr. Jamison. I repeatedly knocked on his door and saw him inside, but he did not answer. While standing there, I called his home telephone (phone bill and call detail provided to newspaper). He also did not answer that attempt to contact him. 

I wrote Mr. Jamison an e-mail about an hour later, at 6:40 p.m., and let him know that we had received his correspondence. I wrote “In the future, for time-sensitive issues, please use this e-mail address for correspondence. I’ve just shared it with our town board and attorney for a response.”

Mr. Jamison’s request was turned over to our town attorney for research on how to properly address the multiple issues in Mr. Jamison’s request. 

Mr. Jamison on July 15 requested a copy of the ordinance that created and enabled the planning board. This request was fulfilled on July 17 during office hours.

The town attorney did the necessary research and spoke with the county planning department, that administers town ordinances, about the issue. She wrote Mr. Jamison a letter dated July 21 addressing his concerns, advising him that, “Since the property was already being used as the post office when the ordinance was enacted, such use may be continued even though it does not conform to the provisions of the ordinance.”

Mr. Jamison on July 23 requested a copy of the form required for a zoning change. This was e-mailed to him July 24, but he did not complete a request for a zoning change. We invited Mr. Jamison to speak to the board at our next town meeting on Aug. 6. Mr. Jamison did not attend this meeting. 

If Mr. Jamison chose not to renew or start a new lease with the United States Postal Service, that is certainly his prerogative as a property owner. The town ordinances fully permitted a continued post office at its current location, and the town board fully supports a continued post office, as we stated in our correspondence dated July 21. 

It should be noted that Mr. Jamison has taken exception with many issues before the town board since he resigned his seat on that board in 2011. 

We would welcome and encourage Mr. Jamison’s input regarding what Webster is and isn’t so that we could consider his views along with those of other town residents as we continue our efforts on behalf of our town. 

Nick Breedlove

Mayor of Webster

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