The five-member panel accepted the appeal on Aug. 8 and will hold a hearing this fall, Bates' office said in an email sent to the news media.
"This means that any immediate sale of the Berkeley Main Post Office will be stopped until the PRC rules by the end of November," the mayor's announcement said.
The Postal Service has been selling its large old post offices and transferring its dwindling operations to smaller spaces as a way to reduce its financial losses. It decided this spring to proceed with the sale of Berkeley Post Office, despite strong local opposition.
The Berkeley City Council and the California State Legislature have passed resolutions calling for the sale to be halted, and Bates helped organize a campaign with other cities to save their traditional post office buildings.
Bates filed the appeal with the Postal Regulatory Commission "as an individual postal recipient in the 94704 zip code," his office said.
“The Postal Service is putting our historic Berkeley Main Post Office building up for sale under the guise of a ‘relocation of retail services’,” Bates said in a statement. “I believe USPS never had the intention to relocate postal services and is playing semantic games with our community –what they really want is to sell the building.”
Bates' appeal said that "if the Postal Service wants to relocate services it should have a site located and secured before it puts a successful public service up for sale," according to his office. "The PRC has the authority to remand the sale of the building back to USPS for further review and consideration."
The Mayor must submit a formal appeal by Sept. 3 and plans to present his case in person before the commission, the announcement said. "The PRC will then have until November 27th, 2013 to make a final decision on the appeal," his office said.Opponents of the sale not only object to transfer of the Berkeley building into private hands but also seek restoration of the Postal Service as a public agency instead of conversion into a private enterprise.
The grand building in Berkeley with large columns and arches – built in 1914 and modeled after the 13th-century Hospital of Innocents in Florence – is on the National Register of Historic Places and one of the defining buildings of Berkeley's downtown.
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