39 CFR 241.4 - Expansion, relocation, and construction of post offices.

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§ 241.4 Expansion, relocation, and construction of post offices.
(a) Application.
(1) This section applies when the USPS contemplates any one of the following projects with respect to a customer service facility: expansion, relocation to another existing building, or new construction, except when the project is to meet an emergency requirement or for temporary use. Emergency situations include, but are not limited to, earthquakes, floods, fire, lease terminations, safety factors, environmental causes, or any other actions that would force an immediate relocation from an existing facility. Temporary relocation of space is used for, but not limited to, holidays, special events, or for overflow business. Use of emergency and temporary space will be limited to 180 days in duration. Any additional incremental time periods of up to 180 days each must be approved by the Vice President, Facilities.
(2) This section does not apply when the project under consideration is limited to repair and alterations, such as—
(i) Painting;
(ii) Repairs;
(iii) Replacement or upgrade of structural or functional elements of a postal building or of its equipment;
(iv) Paving, striping, or other repair of parking areas;
(v) Landscaping.
(b) Purpose. The purpose of the procedures required by this section is to assure increased opportunities for members of the communities who may be affected by certain USPS facility projects, along with local officials, to convey their views concerning the contemplated project and have them considered prior to any final decision to expand, relocate to another existing building, or construct a new building that is owned or leased.
(c) Expansion, relocation, new construction. When a need is identified that will require the expansion, relocation, or new construction of a customer service facility, postal representatives responsible for the project will take the following steps in accordance with the time schedule shown:
(1) Personally visit one or more of the highest ranking local public officials (generally individuals holding elective office). During the visit, the postal representatives will—
(i) Identify the need and fully describe the project that is under consideration to meet it, explain the process by which the Postal Service will solicit and consider input from the affected community, and solicit a working partnership with the community officials for the success of the project.
(ii) Emphasize that in meeting a need for increased space, the first priority is to expand the existing facility; the second priority is to find an existing building in the same area as the current facility; and the third option is to build on a new site; all within the downtown area, if possible.
(iii) Ask that a Postal Service presentation of the project be placed on the regular agenda of a public meeting or hearing. If no such meeting is planned within the next 60 days or the agenda of a planned meeting cannot accommodate the project, the USPS will schedule its own public hearing concerning the project, and will advertise the meeting or hearing in a local general circulation newspaper.
(iv) Give the local officials a letter describing the intended project.
(2) Notify the lessor of the affected facility of the project, in writing.
(3) Send an initial news release to local communications media.
(4)
(i) Post in the public lobby of the affected post offices a copy of the letter given to local officials, or the news release, or, space permitting, both. If such information is available at the time, include in the posting a public notice of the date, time, and location of a public meeting or hearing at least 7 days prior to the meeting or hearing.
(ii) Except as provided in this paragraph, attend, or conduct, one or more public hearings to describe the project to the community, invite questions, solicit written comment, and describe the process by which community input will be considered. If it is believed at the time that the existing facility is not able to be expanded or that expansion is impracticable, disclose that fact and the reasons supporting that belief. If, during the public meeting or hearing process, a new development should occur to allow for an expansion of the existing facility, the Postal Service will make a good faith effort in pursuing this alternative. Under exceptional circumstances that would prevent postal representatives from attending a public meeting or conducting a postal hearing on the planned project within a reasonable time, and subject to approval of the Vice President, Facilities, the Postal Service may distribute a notification card to all affected customers, seeking their comments or other feedback. An example of exceptional circumstances would be a project in a sparsely populated area remote from the seat of local government or any forum where a postal conducted meeting could be held.
(iii) At any public meeting or hearing, advise local officials and the community of their appeal rights and the process by which an appeal can be made. Information provided must include time limitations and an address for the appeal.
(5) Review comments and notify local officials of decision. Not less than 15 days after the date of the most recent public meeting, or after receipt of notification cards, make a decision that takes into account community input and is consistent with postal objectives (e.g., expansion, relocation to another building, or construction of a new owned or leased facility), and notify local officials in writing. This notification must include information on the availability and terms of review under paragraph (c)(6) of this section. At the same time, post a copy of the notification letter in the local post office for the community. Take no action on the decision for at least 30 days following notification of local officials and the community.
(6) Within the time period identified in paragraph (c)(5) of this section, any person may request in writing that the decision be reviewed by the Vice President, Facilities, at Postal Service Headquarters. No particular format is required for requesting review, but the request must be in writing and identify the post office or location affected; and should identify the decision objected to, and state the reasons for the objection. The Vice President, Facilities, will obtain the views of the decision maker, review relevant parts of the project file, and if necessary request more information from the appellant. Upon review of the facts, the Vice President, or a representative, will issue a written determination, if possible, within 15 days. In no event will the Postal Service take action on the decision being reviewed until 15 days following issuance of the final review determination. If the determination on review is to set aside the decision, the project process will return to the public hearing stage of paragraph (c)(4) of this section.
(7) Advertise for sites and existing buildings, in accordance with existing postal procedures.
(d) Discontinuance of post offices; historic preservation.
(1) It is the policy of the Postal Service, by virtue of Board of Governors Resolution No. 82-7, to comply with Section 106 of the general provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470, et seq., Executive Order 12072, and Executive Order 13006. Therefore, any facility project that will have an effect on cultural resources will be undertaken in accordance with that policy.
(2) Any action involving the closing or other discontinuance of a post office shall be undertaken only in accordance with 39 U.S.C. 404(b) and 39 CFR 243.1. In the event a facility action is subject to both this section, and either the NHPA or the post office discontinuance requirements, all comment periods and other public participation matters shall be governed by those statutes.
(e) Site selection.
(1) When the decision is to advertise for sites and existing buildings, and after such sites have been identified, advise local officials in writing of all contending sites, and with respect to all sites not selected, provide an explanation. This notice will advise local officials, and the community, that no decision to select a site will be made for a minimum of 30 days, and that comments or discussions of all sites are solicited. Post a copy of this letter in the lobby of the affected post office for public notice.
(2) Once a specific site is then selected, notify local officials in writing of the selection decision.
(3) Take no final action to acquire or lease the selected site for 30 days following the notification in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.
(f) Planning, zoning, building codes. In carrying out customer service facilities projects, it is the policy of the Postal Service to comply with local planning and zoning requirements and building codes consistent with prudent business practices and unique postal requirements. In order to promote a partnership with local officials and assure conformance with local building codes, plans and drawings will be sent to the appropriate building department or other officials for review. Where payment of fees is normally required of private entities, the Postal Service will pay a reasonable fee for the review. The Postal Service will give local public officials written notice of any timely, written objections or recommendations that it does not plan to adopt or implement.
(g) Continuing communication. During construction, whether renovation or new construction, the postmaster should keep local officials and the community informed via letters and news releases. The postmaster and other postal officials should plan, conduct and invite the community and local officials to any “grand opening”, as appropriate.
[63 FR 46656, Sept. 2, 1998]
Beta! The text on the eCFR tab represents the unofficial eCFR text at ecfr.gov.
§ 241.4 Relocating retail services; adding new retail service facilities.

(a) Application.

(1) Except as otherwise provided, this section applies when the Postal Service makes a tentative decision to relocate all retail services from a retail service facility to a separate existing physical building, or to add a new retail service facility for a community. As used in this section, “retail services” means the single-piece mail services offered to individual members of the public on a walk-in basis at a retail service facility, and a “retail service facility” is a physical building where Postal Service employees provide such retail services.

(2) The rules of this paragraph (a)(2) apply to temporary additions of retail service facilities, temporary or emergency relocations of retail services, and to provisional relocations of retail services.

(i) The Postal Service may implement temporary additions or relocations without undertaking the process in paragraph (c) of this section when necessary to support Postal Service business for holidays, special events, or overflow business. Temporary additions and relocations normally will be limited to 180 days in duration. Any additional incremental time periods of up to 180 days each must be approved by the vice president, Facilities or his designee.

(ii) The Postal Service may implement emergency relocations without first undertaking the process in paragraph (c) of this section when the Postal Service determines relocation is required to protect Postal Service business due to events such as earthquakes, floods, fire, potential or actual OSHA violations, safety factors, environmental causes, other business disrupting events, or as necessary to protect employees, customers, or the security of the mail. Following an emergency relocation, as soon as the Postal Service determines it is feasible to identify the long-term location for the retail services, the Postal Service will make a tentative decision to remain in the emergency relocation site on a long-term basis, to return to the original retail service facility (if feasible), or to relocate to another site. Unless the decision is to return to the original retail service facility, the Postal Service then will follow the process in paragraph (c) of this section with respect to collecting and considering community input on a proposal to implement that decision.

(iii) The Postal Service may implement provisional relocations in connection with lease terminations or expirations, or in connection with a lessor exercising a right to require the Postal Service to move to alternate premises, when the Postal Service has not already undertaken the process in paragraph (c) of this section for such relocations. Not later than 180 days following a provisional relocation, the Postal Service will make a tentative decision to remain in the provisional relocation site on a long-term basis or to relocate to another site. After that decision, the Postal Service will follow the process in paragraph (c) of this section with respect to collecting and considering community input on a proposal to implement that decision.

(3) This section applies to tentative decisions described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) made on or after March 23, 2015. The rules under § 241.4 in effect prior to that date shall apply to projects described in paragraph (a) of this section undertaken prior to that date.

(b) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide opportunities for community members and their elected local officials to appeal Postal Service tentative decisions described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section and to give input on proposals for implementing those decisions (each a “proposal”), and to require the Postal Service to consider any appeals and input in arriving at final decisions to proceed with, modify, or cancel proposals.

(c) Collecting and considering community input. When the Postal Service makes a tentative decision described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section, a Postal Service representative will take the following steps:

(1) Identify the community and engage local elected officials. The Postal Service representative will identify the community the Postal Service anticipates would be affected by implementing the proposal, taking into account such factors as the Postal Service determines are appropriate for the proposal. The Postal Service representative then will deliver to one or more local elected public officials a written outline of the proposal and offer to discuss the proposal with them. The Postal Service representative may elect to conduct that discussion either in person or using any other appropriate communication tool, including electronic communications. If the officials accept the offer, then the Postal Service representative will identify the need and outline the proposal that is under consideration to meet it, explain the process by which the Postal Service will solicit and consider input from the affected community, and solicit input from the local officials regarding the proposal.

(2) Notify the community and arrange for public presentation. The Postal Service will send an initial news release outlining the proposal to one or more news media serving the community and, if the community has a retail service facility, then the Postal Service also will post a copy of the information given to local officials or the news release in the public lobby of that retail service facility. If the proposal concerns relocating retail services from a leased facility, then, using the most current notice address information in the Postal Service's file for the site, the Postal Service will deliver to the lessor a copy of the information given to local officials, provided, however, that no such notice will be required when the lessor has terminated the Postal Service's lease or has declined to renew the Postal Service lease on terms acceptable to the Postal Service. Additionally, the Postal Service representative will ask the local officials to place a Postal Service presentation of the proposal on the regular agenda of the next scheduled public meeting, or will schedule a separate Postal Service public meeting concerning the proposal. At least 15 days prior to the meeting, the Postal Service will advertise the date, time, and location of the public meeting in a local news medium and, if the community has an existing retail service facility, then the Postal Service also will post in the public lobby of that retail service facility a notice of the date, time, and location of the public meeting.

(3) Present the proposal to the community. At the public meeting, the Postal Service will identify the need, e.g., to replace an expiring lease or to serve a new population center; identify the tentative decision, e.g., to relocate retail services or add a retail service facility; outline the proposal to meet the need; invite questions; solicit written input on the proposal; and provide an address to which the community and local officials may send written appeals of the tentative decision and comments on the proposal for a period of 30 days following the public meeting. Under exceptional circumstances that would prevent a Postal Service representative from attending or conducting a public meeting to present the proposal within a reasonable time, the Postal Service, in lieu of a public meeting, will mail written notification of the tentative decision and the proposal to customers within the community and post a notice of the proposal in the retail service facility that would be affected by the proposal, seeking their written input on the proposal and providing an address to which the community and local officials may send written appeals of the tentative decision and comments on the proposal during the 30 days following that notification. An example of exceptional circumstances would be a proposal that would be implemented in a sparsely populated area remote from the seat of local government or any forum where the public meeting reasonably could be held.

(i)

(A) If the proposal concerns relocation, then the Postal Service will:

(1) Discuss the reasons for relocating;

(2) Identify the site or area, or both, to which the Postal Service anticipates relocating the retail services; and

(3) Describe the anticipated size of the retail service facility for the relocated retail services, and the anticipated services to be offered at that site or in that area.

(B) The Postal Service may identify more than one potential relocation site and/or area, for example, when the Postal Service has not selected among competing sites.

(ii)

(A) If the proposal concerns adding a new retail service facility for a community, then the Postal Service will:

(1) Discuss the reasons for the addition;

(2) Identify the site or area, or both, to which the Postal Service anticipates adding the retail service facility;

(3) Describe the anticipated size of the added retail service facility, and the anticipated services to be offered; and

(4) Outline any anticipated construction (e.g., of a stand-alone building or interior improvements to an existing building (or portion thereof) that will be leased by the Postal Service).

(B) The Postal Service may identify more than one potential site and/or area, for example, when the Postal Service has not selected yet among competing sites.

(4) Consider comments and appeals. After the 30-day comment and appeal period, the Postal Service will consider the comments and appeals received that identify reasons why the Postal Service's tentative decision and proposal (e.g., to relocate to the selected site, or to add a new retail service facility) is, or is not, the optimal solution for the identified need. Following that consideration, the Postal Service will make a final decision to proceed with, modify, or cancel the proposal. The Postal Service then will inform local officials in writing of its final decision and send an initial news release announcing the final decision to local news media. If the community has a retail service facility, then the Postal Service also will post a copy of the information given to local officials or the news release in the public lobby of that retail service facility. The Postal Service then will implement the final decision.

(5) Identify any new site or area. After the public meeting under paragraph (c)(3) of this section, if the Postal Service decides to use a site or area that it did not identify at the public meeting, and this section applies with respect to that new site or area, then the Postal Service will undertake the steps in paragraphs (c)(2) through (4) of this section with regard to the new site or area.

(d) Effect on other obligations and policies.

(1) Nothing in this section shall add to, reduce, or otherwise modify the Postal Service's legal obligations or policies for compliance with:

(i) Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470, Executive Order 12072, and Executive Order 13006;

(ii) 39 U.S.C. 404(d) and 39 39 CFR 241.3; or

(iii) 39 U.S.C. 409(f);

(2) These are independent policies or obligations of the Postal Service that are not dependent upon a relocation or addition of a retail service facility.

[80 FR 9193, Feb. 20, 2015]

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