Slowing the Rush to Sell Historic Post Offices

Outcry over the potential sale of post offices in Berkeley and the Bronx has prompted those areas’ respective Congressional representatives to seek federal legislation to put the brakes on the Postal Service’s rush to sell historic properties.
January 23, 2014, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The recent federal omnibus spending bill included a moratorium on the sale of historic post offices, sponsored by Reps. José E. Serrano (D-NY) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), reports Anna Hiatt. The two represent the Bronx and Berkeley, respectively, where the United State Postal Service has announced intentions to sell historic post offices.

From a statement by Rep. Serrano: “The USPS needs to put sales of historic post offices on hold while we wait to see what the inspector general’s report and the [Advisory Council on Historic Preservation] reports say.”

Also from Rep. Serrano’s statement: “I understand the USPS has a serious revenue problem . . .but selling off historic properties to the highest bidder without following the appropriate procedures is completely unacceptable.”

Currently, the Postal Service is required to hold a public meeting and a comment period for feedback after announcing intentions to sell a building. “But the USPS is pushing a proposal to change federal regulation and eliminate the environmental impact report, which would mean cutting the public hearing process,” reports Hiatt.

Another post by Kaid Benfield puts the USPS’s efforts to sell properties in broader context: “According to multiple reports, the Postal Service is moving to shutter over 4,000 post office buildings around the country.” Benfield also notes that past attempts by federal legislators to add requirements for public input regarding the real estate dealings of the USPS have been largely unsuccessful.

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Published on Monday, January 20, 2014 in Washington Post
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