I was wondering if anybody else has noticed the trend over the past decade or so of extravagant mailboxes becoming a statement of wealth in well-to-do residential neighborhoods? They are most often built out of brick or stone and even at times will be designed to resemble the architecture of the house (see photos). It’s a stupid mailbox, not a cabana, pool house, or even a shed! As long as it protects the mail from the elements, why is it necessary for a mailbox to be a status symbol?
Personally, this comes across as a terrible and selfish waste of money that could be put to much better use helping the poor, the needy, the sick, the unemployed, or the homeless. Who knows if there will be mail or newspaper delivery in the future. If homeowners want to blow their money that much, at least put it to productive use instead of over-inflating their own ego.
As an urban planner, these super-sized mailboxes can present several problems, including, but not limited to:
- Are these mailboxes an accessory structure when they are constructed out of concrete, brick, or stone?
- If they are an accessory structure, are they exempt from setbacks or bring situated in the front yard?
- Do they violate sight triangle requirements when they get too tall or large?
- Do they present a greater safety hazard to traffic, especially is icy and snowy weather?
- Should a building permit be required?
In addition to the designer mailboxes for single-family residences, there are also large multi-box structures now dotting the entrances to apartment complexes and condominium developments. One assumes these are installed for one-stop mail delivery so the postal carrier does not have to wander about the whole facility. In at least two cases that I know of, they are situated outside the sight triangle for street traffic, but block views of pedestrians and/or cyclists using the adjacent sidewalk (see below).