Confusion arises over mailing addresses that don't match municipal boundaries

Laura Curry, owner of Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery in Carnes Crossroads, originally thought her business was inside Summerville. She later discovered the business is inside Goose Creek city limits.

GOOSE CREEK — When Laura Curry and her husband moved from Tennessee to start a business, Carnes Crossroads seemed like the ideal spot.

Excited to set up shop, they plastered the pink walls of their cupcake business with signs reading “Summerville Smallcakes.”

But there’s one problem: They aren’t in Summerville.

“We were told when we came here that this is Summerville,” Curry said. “When you Google it, it says Goose Creek.”

Carnes Crossroads was annexed into Goose Creek, but it still has a Summerville address. Like several other municipalities, Goose Creek has been frustrated for decades with how the U.S. Postal Service and its ZIP codes weave in and out of city limits.

While cities can ask the Postal Service to adjust its ZIP codes to fit city lines, Goose Creek hasn’t found much success.

“We’ve given up on contacting the Postal Service directly,” said Jake Broom, the city administrator for Goose Creek. “They have made it clear that someone at the federal level is going to have to force them to take action.”

ZIP codes represent the geographical regions that the Postal Service uses to organize and distribute mail.

While the process might work for them, it has caused confusion when the code crosses municipal boundaries and gives people an address of a town where they don't live.

The 29483 ZIP code, for example, is identified as Summerville, but it includes portions of incorporated Goose Creek. This is the same for the code that covers Wescott Plantation in North Charleston and other areas in Moncks Corner.

City leaders say the confusion has led to emergency vehicles not knowing what town has placed a call; people being unclear about where to vote in municipal elections; and packages not being delivered.

Broom said misplacing a package may not be earth-shattering, but he said “its frequency compounds as we continue to grow.”

The Postal Service has said adjusting ZIP codes would delay mailing processes.

Other places have had similar issues. Years ago, Mount Pleasant asked that residents who had Awendaw addresses be allowed to receive mail at a Mount Pleasant address. The Postal Service said that adjusting the ZIP would've led to mail being sent to the wrong address.

Other cities, however, have successfully resolved the problem.

The entire city of Hanahan had a ZIP code years ago that gave some of its residents North Charleston address until Hanahan City Council members lobbied for a change.

Hanahan Administrator Johnny Cribb said currently, all of the city’s 25,000 residents all have Hanahan addresses.

“It’s not anything against your neighboring community,” he said. “It’s just not where you live.”

Follow Rickey Dennis on Twitter @RCDJunior.