Queen Creek wants to keep its current ZIP code when it and 29 ZIP codes in Pinal County change July 1.
From lower home values in town and higher crime rates outside of it, Queen Creek offers plenty of reasons to fight the perception it's in Pinal County.
Now, the town is doing everything it can to stave off one more piece of confusion: It wants to keep its current ZIP code when it and 29 ZIP codes in Pinal County change July 1.
The United States Postal Service is making the change to accommodate growth and group similar ZIP codes together. Select ZIP codes starting with 852 will change to 851. As an example, 85242 will become 85142.
Queen Creek resident Cherie Richardson collected almost 500 signatures so far from residents who want to keep the current code.
The Postal Service has made it clear Pinal County growth is driving the change, Richardson said. Changing Queen Creek's ZIP code will only add to existing confusion about the town's boundaries.
"Nobody's ever really sure what services they're entitled to," she said. "Johnson Ranch calls themselves Queen Creek, except they're not entitled to Queen Creek services. Except they do have to drive into town to use our post office."
Richardson, who is a real estate agent, is also concerned people looking for property in Maricopa County will use the first three digits of the ZIP code to locate them, leaving Queen Creek out.
The only current ZIP code in Queen Creek town limits is 85242. Queen Creek town limits fall mostly in Maricopa County, with a few miles in Pinal.
There are other ZIP codes in Pinal County with Queen Creek addresses, but those addresses aren't in town limits.
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The town's ZIP code is the only one mostly in Maricopa County slated to change. As a result, town officials and residents alike have stepped up efforts to avoid being lumped in with Pinal County when the ZIP codes shift.
Town Manager John Kross met with officials from the post office last week, but he said he isn't hopeful the situation will change.
"The meeting was not real productive from our perspective," Kross said.
Still, if the ZIP code decision doesn't come out in Queen Creek's favor, town officials will "press this issue at the very highest levels possible," Kross said.
Mayor Art Sanders has already sent letters to several members of the Arizona congressional delegation, including Republican Rep. Jeff Flake and Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain.
"While to the USPS, ZIP codes are simply a means of delivering mail, the public perception ... problem is insurmountable," Sanders wrote. "No amount of public education has ever been sufficient to create awareness among area residents regarding their residency status."
Since Queen Creek is the only town in Maricopa County faced with the 851 change, Sanders described using the county line to determine the change as a "reasonable request."
There hasn't been a final decision made on Queen Creek's request, said Peter Hass, Postal Service spokesman.
More than 480,000 new delivery addresses have been added to the state since 2001, most of them in growing areas like Pinal County and Queen Creek, Hass said.
"When we see potential growth in that area, we have to prepare for it," Hass said.