In Oakland, the Winter Garden ZIP code is also used, but officials are worried about even more confusion as more residents and businesses come to the small town.
Oakland is still fighting with an identity issue that arose in 2000 when new subdivisions began popping up in the town but the local post office, which solely used box delivery, wasn’t equipped to handle the influx of mail.
The U.S. Post Office allowed home mail delivery to those Oakland residents, but they had to use Oakland 34787 and the mail was routed through the Winter Garden Post Office. Oakland’s official ZIP code is 34760, and Winter Garden’s is 34787.
Newer residents had problems receiving their mail because their physical address was recognized as Winter Garden.
And then there’s the state’s Communication Service Tax, which uses ZIP codes as its identifier. Money that would normally have gone to Oakland was being given to Winter Garden instead.
Town Manager Dennis Foltz brought the issue back to the table at the Jan. 24 town commission meeting, asking for direction on the subject ahead of the upcoming expected growth boom and in anticipation of land mapped out in the Joint Planning Agreement.
He talked recently with State Sen. Randolph Bracy, who said Congress is currently discussing this problem regarding several municipalities. He said Oakland should be included on that list.
“If we have our own ZIP code, we will need our own post office, or we need to add onto the existing post office,” Foltz said. “The ideal thing to do would be to expand 34760. … The good news is we’re at an early place in our growth.”
The town owns the post office building in the town center and rents it to the U.S. Postal Service for mail service to 34760.
Foltz said there are residents who prefer to use a postal box because they want to identify with Oakland.
Even more confusing are the businesses — such as ABC Bus, Oakland’s largest employer — that are within the town limits but have a Winter Garden address and ZIP code.
“We want to clean that up,” Foltz said. “We intent to take measures that our new businesses use the name Oakland — but if they use 34787, that’s still confusing.
“Oakland is an old name,” he said. “We do have pride.”
Contact Amy Quesinberry at [email protected].