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LAND O'LAKES POST OFFICE SO BUSY IT NEEDS ANNEX

Customers won't notice anything different, but some functions will move to a new spot.

The lunch hour line at the Land O'Lakes post office was short last week. But the calm of the lobby may have betrayed what was going on behind the scenes.

It's getting crowded back there.

The number of residential addresses in the three ZIP codes serviced by the Land O'Lakes Boulevard office - 34637, 34638 and 34639 - is projected to grow by an average of 7.66 percent between 2000 and 2013, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

There's not enough room at the current location to accommodate the mail sorting and other delivery functions that will accompany the growth.

"The routes outgrew the facility," said Gary Sawtelle, a spokesman for the Postal Service.

Within the next two months, the delivery functions for two of the ZIP codes will be moved to a new carrier annex about a mile away on Ehren Cutoff.

The Land O'Lakes Boulevard office will continue to operate as a retail hub where people can send and pick up their mail. The move will not affect post office box owners, or anyone who normally uses the Land O'Lakes Boulevard location.

"Nothing changes for the customer - nothing," Sawtelle said about the addition of the Ehren Cutoff carrier annex.

"It should be completely invisible."

The extra space doesn't mean any extra staffers. No new hires are expected to accompany the move.

Similar carrier annexes are located in Port Richey, Trinity and New Port Richey.

Growth rates for other areas of the country were unavailable Thursday, but overall the Postal Service is expecting to handle about 20 billion fewer pieces of mail this year than it did in 2008.

To cut costs, the Postal Service may close more than 400 of its 37,000 locations nationwide, including 12 in the Tampa Bay area. None of the Pasco County locations are on the chopping block.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

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