Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | 2:23 a.m.
Starting next month, the poor rich folks in Lake Las Vegas will know exactly how Margaret Drysdale felt when she found out that the Clampetts were moving in next door.
That's when the exclusive resort community that's home to celebrities, athletes and the simply wealthy will find itself rubbing shoulders, so to speak, with Boulder Highway, at least as far as the U.S. Postal Service is concerned.
Effective July 1, the Henderson master planned community will lose the exclusivity of its 89011 ZIP code when the Postal Service expands it outside of Lake Las Vegas to include other parts of Henderson and unincorporated Clark County now that are now in 89015.
The expanded ZIP code will take in residential and industrial areas on both sides of Boulder Highway up to Russell Road.
That means that $2 million gated homes soon will be sharing the same ZIP code with Taco Bells and pawn shops on Boulder Highway.
"I am sure Lake Las Vegas is not too thrilled about that," said Kolleen Kelley, a broker for Liberty Realty. "Basically, it is comparing an upper class product to a blue-collar, middle-class product. The upper clientele always like to think they are special. That's why they are in a master planned community."
Lake Las Vegas officials declined to comment on the changes.
But one of its residents, Jim Sabalos, said postal officials should keep Lake Las Vegas' ZIP code intact. Sabalos insists he is not being snobbish, but he said he is concerned that the change will generate more mail mix-ups.
Lake Las Vegas residents already get mail misdirected as it is, he said. And as the community develops, adding a second ZIP code - one shared with an area with a decidely un-Lake Las Vegas ambience - is unlikely to eliminate that problem, Sabalos said.
"I think sharing it with a commercial area will cause confusion," Sabalos said. "I think most people identify that ZIP code with Lake Las Vegas, not Boulder Highway."
Postal Service spokeswoman Marilyn Fenimore said a former postmaster assigned Las Vegas its codes more than a decade ago.
ZIP codes are intended to serve up to 10,000 addresses and up to 25,000 delivery points within those 10,000 addresses, Fenimore said.
Because not all of the 10,000 addresses were being used within 89011, the Postal Service expanded the boundaries, she said.
The expanded 89011 is not the only ZIP code change coming to the Las Vegas Valley. The Postal Service also will create three new ZIP codes next month - one east of the resort corridor, another in Silverado Ranch and the third is in Henderson.
New ZIP codes are to be expected in a region growing so rapidly, Fenimore said.
Condominium development along the Las Vegas Strip prompted the Postal Service to break up 89109, a ZIP code stigmatized as a high crime area. While the resort corridor will remain in 89109, areas east of Koval Lane will switch to a new 89169 code.
Although the Postal Service said it has not received any complaints about the new ZIP codes, some business owners have said it will cause them to spend money to change stationery, letterheads and business cards.
UNLV history professor Gene Moehring said property owners with the 89109 ZIP code probably will be happy with the change, viewing it as something that will help distance themselves from the crime associated with the area.
He added that he is not surprised that the Strip's resort hotels got to keep their ZIP code - an indication of their clout and the way it helps to fend off unwanted change.
"For some businesses it's like changing a street name," Moehring said of new ZIP codes. "It's like they were moving and had to tell everyone in the world they are no longer at that address."
Fenimore said the Postal Service tends to create new ZIP codes for newer developed areas with the greatest potential for growth.
The other new codes will cover the area south of Silverado Ranch (89183) and south of downtown Henderson (89002).
Even though the new codes take effect July 1, the Postal Service is giving residents and businesses an extra year to make the adjustment. Beginning in July 2007, letters with the wrong ZIP code could be returned to the sender, Fenimore said.
By then, the residents of Lake Las Vegas may feel that what's really wrong with their ZIP code is what the Postal Service has done with it.