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Construction begins on long-awaited new DMV office in Santa Maria

Posted at 5:02 PM, Nov 07, 2023

If you've ever spent hours in line at the Santa Maria Department of Motor Vehicles waiting to get a new driver’s license, register a vehicle, or update your address, some relief may be in sight.

This past month, construction began on the city’s new DMV office, aimed at serving Santa Maria’s growing population.

For Santa Maria community members like Alex Casillas, the project is long overdue.

“I have driven all the way to Lompoc before just to try to avoid this one,” he admitted. “I have always wondered why such a fast-growing city has such an old version of a DMV.”

And though Casillas says he was able to get in and out of the DMV line Tuesday in less than an hour’s time, he usually anticipates a longer wait.

“I have been here for two hours [before] — very crowded, ventilation was terrible, breathing in there was terrible. It has been chaotic here at times,” Casillas told KSBY.

According to City of Santa Maria Public Information Officer Mark van de Kamp, city leaders have been advocating for a new DMV office for the past two decades. Years of setbacks including state budget issues, the recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic put the project on hold.

“The DMV has nevertheless gone out and constructed larger and newer facilities elsewhere in the state, so we are really pleased that now it is Santa Maria’s turn,” Van de Kamp said enthusiastically.

Much to the excitement of both city leaders and the local community, earlier this month, construction crews began work in the vacant lot along the 2700 block of Santa Maria Way, the future home of the newest DMV office on the Central Coast.

“This will be a much larger, much more modern facility. It will have very easy freeway access from the 101 and will have many more parking spaces,” Van de Kamp explained.

Since the old office was built in 1969, Santa Maria’s population has grown from 33,000 people to upwards of 100,000. Van de Kamp adds that the new office will also serve communities in Orcutt, Guadalupe, and surrounding areas.

“I was advocating to one of our Assemblymembers back in 2007 for a larger DMV, and we are pleased to see that it is coming about now,” Van de Kamp added.

We reached out to state DMV officials for information on future plans for their current Santa Maria office off McClelland Street, but we did not hear back.

Meanwhile, Casillas says he can’t wait until the new facility is open.

“I am excited about it, very excited about it. Hopefully, it is less frustrating coming to the DMV, and it is in-and-out,” he said.

It is expected that construction of the new DMV office will be completed in about a year.