County officials are considering regulating rural mailboxes in the name of safety.
Mailboxes mounted on hand plows soon may be as obsolete in Douglas County as hand plows themselves.
Douglas County Public Works Director Keith Browning is proposing to regulate the type of mailboxes allowed in the rural parts of the county.
"It's a safety concern," Browning said.
Though plows, wagon wheels and milk cans make quaint mailbox supports, they also could cause injury when crashing through a car windshield, Browning said.
And though brick-encased mailboxes are attractive and impervious to baseball-bat-wielding vandals, they also do serious damage to car and driver when struck, he said.
"We want something that " is going to break away," Browning said.
Browning will go before Douglas County commissioners with his request during today's commission meeting at 6:35 p.m. at the county courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts.
Browning said the county has no mailbox regulations on its books.
"More and more houses are being built in the rural areas, which means more mailboxes," Browning said. "We are trying to ensure the roadsides remain as safe as possible."
He is proposing allowing mailbox posts of wooden 4-by-4s or round posts no larger than 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Metal posts could be constructed of 2-inch steel pipe.
The boxes themselves should be of light metal or plastic conforming to U.S. Postal Service regulations.
Browning said he also would like commissioners to discuss requiring new homes to include turnouts where mail carriers could pull off the road to deliver mail.
Lawrence Postmaster Bill Reynolds said the ideas sounded reasonable to him.
The postal service requires rural mailboxes to be of a certain height and that they be at the edge of the road so that mail carriers can reach them from a vehicle.
"We would certainly support things that improve safety," Reynolds said.
Browning said he understands the concern about mailbox vandalism.
"To put up something that could really injure a person who inadvertently left the road I don't think is the answer to a vandalism problem," he said.
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