Over the last few years, through the newsletter and direct mailings, Evergreen residents have been urged to address the deteriorating condition of many of the mailboxes in our neighborhood and bring them into compliance with our standards. Since that time, over 50% of you have done just that but too many residents have ignored or put off the updating of their mailboxes. We continue to hear comments from residents and some prospective buyers about their concerns regarding the shabby appearance of some of the mailboxes.
The following provides some background and history for how the required mailbox design and colors were developed. It should be noted that the required design of the mailbox structures has NOT changed since the first house was built in Evergreen. Only the colors and installation height and setback have been changed. You will see that the reason for changing the height and setback are to meet City and USPS requirements which almost none of our mailboxes initially met.
When the first articles and letters were sent out, many of you expressed a desire to improve your own mailbox, but said that the paint color requirements at that time were difficult to meet because you couldn’t get a paint to match their neighbor’s house colors. In addition, some of the mailboxes needed significant repair or complete replacement. We were asked if the ECA board could identify people that could repair or replace their mailboxes.
As a result of this input, the ECA board talked to several design and color consultants to make recommendations for how to improve the appearance of the mailboxes. Besides the obvious repairs, painting and straightening needed, both of the consultants said the same thing – “make all of the mailboxes the same color(s) and design. Use colors that will make the mailboxes blend into the property and landscaping. You want buyers to see the beauty and features of the house and property – not a mailbox that stands out and distracts them from seeing what they are there to potentially purchase.”
Based on the recommendations of the consultants, the ECA board made a decision to change the mailbox colors and to standardize them for the whole Evergreen neighborhood.
The new paint colors are:
- Sherwin Williams Van Dyke Brown, #7041 Duration Satin latex for the wood portion of the mailbox assembly
- Krylon #5812 gloss black in a spray can for the metal box or, if you prefer to brush or roll it on, use
- Sherwin Williams, All Surface Enamel Latex Gloss Black #501.
The particular black paint was chosen because it performs well on metal surfaces and matches the black color of a new mailbox. The routed numbers will also be the black color but they need to be primed before using the black paint. The Van Dyke brown paint will work well as a primer for the numbers before painting them with the black. Two coats of paint are highly recommended for all surfaces to assure long lasting performance and avoid the need to repaint frequently! (Note: any brand of paint may be used as long as it matches the colors specified above.)
An account has been set up for Evergreen residents at the Sherwin Williams store located at 2170 Eagle Creek Lane (tel. 651-436-1440). The account is under Evergreen Community Association and provides a significant discount to our residents for the paint. It is important to know that the Duration Van Dyke brown is only available in gallon containers, so it would be wise to share in the purchase with your neighbors as one gallon will paint quite a few mailbox assemblies.
In addition to the color changes, all mailbox assemblies must use:
- Standard Jumbo black metal mailbox (available at Menards-part # ST200B00 – may be available at Home Depot as well). Most of the mailboxes currently in place meet this requirement and will only need to be painted using the specified black paint if they have been painted other colors.
- Wood assembly must meet the design and materials that have long been in place. This means that only red cedar should be used. Plywood or treated lumber is not allowed due to more prevalent warping and paint peeling. The main post should be a 4”x6” post, NOT a 4”x4” post. The 4”x6” post will last longer and stand upright much better than a smaller 4”x4” post.
- House numbers should be routed into the wood on the sides and painted black. Attachable numbers should not be used. If you have attached numbers, they can be removed and numbers routed in without removing the post assembly from the ground.
City of Woodbury Mailbox Requirements
In addition to improving the appearance of the mailboxes, we have learned that the city of Woodbury adopted a policy on mailboxes requiring, among other things, a minimum height above the street and set back from the curb. Mailboxes not meeting these standards will no longer qualify for consideration of replacement or repair costs if the mailboxes are damaged during snowplowing!
These City requirements are:
- The bottom of the metal box must be 48” above the street level. Evergreen has 4” high curbs so the box should be 44” above the top edge of the curb.
- The front face of the box must not extend beyond the edge of the curb.
- Newspaper boxes must be set back 10” from the curb. However, because of the design of our mailboxes with the angled newspaper box, we could not comply with that last requirement. It would result in the mailbox being too far away for the Postman to reach.
After discussions with a city representative as well as the local Post Office, it was agreed that we would set the face of the metal box back 3” from the top edge of the curb and that would be satisfactory. At this time, very few of the mailboxes in Evergreen meet these requirements. This means that nearly all of them will have to be replaced or reset. This will most often require either a new 10 foot long 4” x 6” post or an extension to the existing 8 foot post to make sure it is at or below the frost line. We expect most posts will have to be replaced since after 20 + years, many have a rotted section right at ground level or below. It is CRITICAL that the posts be installed as specified or we will not comply with city and USPS requirements.
Design and Installation Specifications
Detailed spec. of entire post Close-up of above-ground post and paperbox
Click on the image for larger version
- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Mailboxes
Q. Why are we changing the colors of the mailboxes?
A. The old ECA requirements were confusing and acquiring the paint to match the colors of the house on the lot where the mailboxes are located was too difficult. It was reported that some prospective buyers commented negatively on the poor condition and mish-mash of colors of the mailboxes.
Q. Why were these new colors chosen?
A. Several color consultants recommended the colors so that the mailboxes blended better into the neighborhood and didn’t detract from the landscaping or the houses.
Q. My mailbox is fine, why do I need to replace it?
A. You don’t need to replace your mailbox if it meets all the requirements of the U.S. Post Office, the City of Woodbury and the ECA. You may only need to repaint it, but very few mailboxes in Evergreen meet the USPS and City requirements for height and setback. Many also don’t meet the ECA structural design requirements that have been in place for many years.
Q. I am not a handyman. Do you know of anyone I can contact to replace the mailbox?
A. The ECA has identified two contractors who can replace or in many cases, repair your mailbox assemblies. However, you can hire anyone you wish but the mailboxes must meet the ECA, USPS and City requirements for construction, colors and installation.
Q. Who are those contractors?
A. Dave Klemmensen (651-739-1704) will build the wood structures to the ECA standards. Darrell Forbes (612-865-9266) will install, paint or repair mailboxes and even route numbers in existing structures. He will also build them if necessary.
Q. What are the new requirements for the mailbox design and colors and how should it be installed?
A. If you no longer have the letter sent to all residents detailing the requirements, all the information is posted and available here.
Q. My mailbox post is leaning sideways, is it possible to replace only the post or just straighten it?
A. It may be possible to replace only parts of the mailbox wood structure depending on your specific circumstance. However, it may prove to be more costly to remove and replace portions of it rather than install a new one.
Q. If I raise my mailbox post up and reset it to meet the city requirements, will it still be long enough to be below the frost line?
A. Probably not. Most of the mailboxes in Evergreen used only an 8 foot post when originally installed. A 10 foot post would be required to meet the height requirement and still be below the frost line.
Q. Why do I care if the post isn’t deep enough to be below the frost line?
A. If the post is not below the frost line, the freezing and thawing of the ground will cause the post assembly to lean and eventually fall over.
Q. Do I need to call anyone to mark possible gas or electric lines before I replace my mailbox?
A. YES! ABSOLUTELY! Any time you or anyone else intends to dig on your property, you should call GOPHER STATE ONE CALL at 651-454-0002 or 1-800-252-1166 BEFORE digging. This includes deepening an already existing hole for your mailbox. There have already been instances where electrical and gas lines have been discovered (but not cut) when replacing posts. We highly recommend you hire someone familiar with detecting electrical and gas facilities to install your post assembly. You should also be aware that even when marked, a gas or electric line may not be exactly where the surface mark is located. The painted mark can be as much as two feet off from where the actual line is located.
Q. Why can’t I use treated lumber for the 4” x 6” post?
A. Treated lumber, as specified by the manufacturer, should not be painted for at least a year after installation because paints and stains will not adhere to the surface. Paint will chip and peel and the posts require much more maintenance to look good. Treated lumber also has a tendency to split along the grain and often twists with age. Both of these can result in a poor looking mailbox and would require earlier replacement.
Q. The Sherwin Williams Duration paint you’ve specified is only available in 1 gallon cans. I don’t need nearly that much to paint my mailbox so what do I do with the rest of it?
A. The SW Duration paint was chosen based on its superior weathering and fade resistance but you can use any brand of paint so long as it is a color match to the specified Sherwin Williams paint. Whatever paint is used, neighbors should work together and split the cost of the paint.
Q. Can I use brass or reflective numbers to attach to the side of the mailbox or the wood assembly?
A. No, all numbers should be routed and painted.
Q. But I already have reflective numbers on my mailbox and I don’t have a router. How can I get the numbers routed in place?
A. Assuming you don’t need a new mailbox assembly, one of the two contractors that the ECA Board has identified will be able to route the numbers into your existing assembly.
Q. Can I decorate my mailbox?
A. No. The whole purpose of the new standards is to make all the mailboxes a uniform color and design. They will blend better into the neighborhood allowing the beauty of the homes and landscaping to stand out. In addition, it will create more of a visual sense of a unified community.
Q. There are 3 mailboxes in front of my house. Can we put them together all on one post?
A. No, each mailbox should be on its own post assembly. Where there are multiple mailboxes in one location, the recommended spacing is 36” between support posts. This spacing helps assure the addresses are visible from the side. However, occasionally, a spacing of 36” may not be possible or practical and the posts need to be closer together. In those cases, closer spacing is allowed, but every effort should be made to keep a minimum of 28”spacing between posts.
Q. Is there a deadline for new mailboxes?
A. Up until now, the ECA board has chosen to urge residents to bring their mailboxes into compliance rather than set a firm deadline or levy fines. However, too many residents have not moved forward with updating the mailboxes and fines are likely to be charged in the near future.
Q. I think my mailbox is fine and I don’t want to put any money in it. Why should I?
A. First, we all want to maintain the beauty and value of our homes and the Evergreen neighborhood. The current state of the mailboxes has been identified as detracting from the appearance and potential value of the homes in Evergreen. In addition, except for those that have been updated and reset, almost none of the rest of the mailboxes meet the City or USPS standards. These new standards address all these issues. Secondly, the covenants for Evergreen are attached to your deed. They clearly state that the ECA Board can define the mailbox requirements for all Evergreen residents and are empowered to install new mailboxes and charge residents for the costs incurred. For the benefit of all the residents in Evergreen, please reconsider your position and bring your mailbox up to the new standards.
Last revised July, 2014
Take a photo tour of Evergreen to get an idea of our community’s charm.
Developed in 1980 by Dan Dolan, Evergreen’s master plan directed the development of neighborhoods, roads and open spaces, parks and recreation areas.
The Evergreen Homeowners Association (ECA) promotes the community’s lasting value through the review of architectural designs and the maintenance of common monuments and greenery.
Woodbury is an eastern suburb of Saint Paul, Minnesota.