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West Virginia to open new DMV site in Berkeley County

New location on W.Va. 9 will be more convenient for Morgan County residents

December 15, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —  West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Joe E. Miller said Wednesday the agency’s Martinsburg regional office is expected to move into a new building west of Interstate 81 next year.

The DMV’s new 9,000-square-foot facility is expected to open sometime between July and September of 2012, depending on weather conditions, according to Miller.

“We’ll be breaking ground before too long,” Miller said.

Miller said the DMV office will be built on the south side of W.Va. 9 about 2.2 miles from I-81. It will be constructed by Allen Henry, a Martinsburg-area developer, he said.  

The location between Hedgesville and Martinsburg in the vicinity of CNB Bank’s Hedgesville branch office was chosen in response to “a lot of pressure” that the DMV received from officials in neighboring Morgan County, according to Miller.

There is not enough population in Morgan County to justify opening a DMV office there and residents in the Berkeley Springs area pleaded for relief from having to travel so far to obtain a driver’s license and other services, according to Miller.

The current Martinsburg DMV office at 1438 Edwin Miller Boulevard is about 23 miles from the intersection of W.Va. 9 and U.S. 522 in Berkeley Springs.

The DMV’s lease at its current site east of I-81 will expire in April 2012, Miller said. The state may have to may pay more to lease the new building because it will be larger than the current site, which is about 8,000 square feet, according to Miller.

Miller said state law does not allow the agency to own property. The DMV has lease agreements with private parties for other regional offices across the state, including the office in Kearneysville, W.Va., Miller said.

The new Martinsburg regional office is expected to be on a 1.6-acre parcel that is part of “Stone Crest Subdivision, Phase 1,” according to county planning department records.

The 45-acre development is about a half mile west of Welltown School Road and is owned by Straight Arrow LLC, according to county records.

Miller expects the new facility will ultimately help improve access to DMV services in the Martinsburg area.

“We’re looking at a few (other regional DMV offices) — this one here is at the top of the list because of the population explosion in the Eastern Panhandle,” said Miller, who noted the agency had “outgrown” the current location.

Unlike the current DMV office, the new facility will have a strip adjacent to the building for motorcycle testing, Miller said.

A video conferencing room also is included in the plans for the new office to allow individuals to take part in depositions, hearings or other functions without having to travel across the state, according to Miller.

The DMV project is part of about 18 acres in the Stone Crest project being eyed for commercial development and 55 lots for single-family homes also are included in the plan, according to county planning department records.   

The Berkeley County Public Service Water District board on Monday approved plans for the extension of a water main for Stone Crest.

Henry could not be reached for comment about the project.

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