After nearly three years of battling with the U.S. Postal Service to recognize the boundary between Scottsdale and Phoenix, Scottsdale City Councilman Wayne Ecton is declaring victory.
The designation will ensure future commercial developments in that area won’t be able to use the Scottsdale name to their advantage, Ecton said.
In an April 21 letter from the USPS Arizona District Office, the service acknowledged the area on the east side of Scottsdale Road from Loop 101 to Jomax Road will bear Scottsdale’s ZIP code, 85255, and the area to the west will carry a Phoenix ZIP code, 85054.
“I told them I wanted it in writing,” Ecton said of the moment postal officials said they recognize those boundaries. USPS manager David Martinez said the service made no changes and the letter represented the recognition of the two different zones.
“Scottsdale just wanted validation of that,” Martinez said, adding postal service in the area will not change. The undeveloped area is state trust land. Retail establishments within what Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce President Rick Kidder dubbed “the golden ZIP code” have long capitalized on having a Scottsdale name.
Nearly 90 percent of the commercial establishments and residents within the 85254 ZIP code west of Scottsdale Road are in Phoenix, but are served by a Scottsdale post office branch, Kidder said. Ecton’s victory, Kidder said, means the “Scottsdale brand” name will be protected when developers someday decide to develop the area.
“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. Phoenix and Scottsdale are in heated competition and have been for years over which political entity will reap millions of dollars in sales tax revenue along the border. Scottsdale in the past has been unable to get the post office to recognize the distinction between the municipalities in the northwest region where the political entities meet.
The reason: ZIP code designations are determined by the location of the post office which serves them, Ecton said. Land in the 85254 ZIP code was annexed by Phoenix after the postal service assigned the ZIP code, he said. Several Phoenix car dealerships and one large-scale shopping center along Scottsdale Road near Loop 101 use Scottsdale in their names.
Even though those establishments are cashing in on Scottsdale’s high-profile name while paying sales taxes to Phoenix, “we can take it as a compliment to the brand,” Kidder said. Despite the long-standing contest between the municipalities over bragging rights, economic development and tax revenue, most shoppers don’t care.
“The average consumer does not necessarily have brand loyalty. They’re not going to make their decision to shop based on political jurisdiction. They’re going to make a decision based on the best value,” Kidder said.
Ecton said the ZIP code designation also means future residents in that same area won’t be confused as to exactly which municipality they live in. There are people who don’t know which city they are residents of in that border area, Ecton said. Scottsdale routinely gets complaint calls from people about city services, only to be told those services fall under Phoenix’s jurisdiction, he said.