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Howell: DMV to go in old Ponderosa; targeting March 1 open

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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By Liz Beavers

Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - The new West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles office will be located in the former Ponderosa Restaurant at the Potomac Plaza beside Keyser Walmart.

A spokesperson for the DMV confirmed earlier this week that the Romney office, currently located at Sunrise Summit, will be moving to Keyser.

According to Del. Gary Howell, who has been working on getting the DMV to locate a site in Mineral County for some time, the targeted opening date is March 1.

Howell told the News Tribune there was a budget item requesting a new DMV site in the Eastern Panhandle, and “we thought we were getting that one.”

However, the move from Romney to Keyser is apparently separate from that.

In early November, with the lease at the Romney office set to expire, the Real Estate Division of the West Virginia Department of Administration ran a “solicitation of interest” ad in the News Tribune, seeking offers from anyone interested in providing property for the new site, either on a lease/rental or new construction basis.

The desired location would include “a combination of office, storage, filing and conference room space … along with approximately 60 parking spaces…Special requirements would be a 60x100 paved lot suitable for motorcycle testing as well as an observable area of public roadway.”

Howell said he believes the motorcycle course will either be located in the field beside the plaza or behind it.

Hesaid the move to Mineral County makes sense based on the larger population of the area.

“Mineral County is the biggest county population-wise that doesn’t have a DMV,” he said.

The announcement of the move, however, apparently came as a shock to Howell’s fellow delegate who represents Hampshire County.

“I’m shocked,” Del. Ruth Rowan told the Hampshire Review. “I had no idea that this was going on or even being considered.”

The Hampshire County Commissioners were not happy about the announcement, either, and voted this week to send a letter to the DMV opposing the plan.

Howell told the News Tribune, however, that he doesn’t feel the opposition will create any problems for Mineral County.

“It should be a done deal,” he said.