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Miscommunication muddies look at permanent DMV offices for Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Down the road, Herndon residents may not have to travel as far to access services by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The Herndon Town Council is exploring the possibility of bringing permanent DMV services to the town — an initiative that was broadly discussed at the council’s quarterly strategy meeting late last month.

It’s not the first time council members have floated the idea.

At a strategy meeting earlier this year, the council directed staff to research the possibility of more permanent services in the town.

In response to that directive, Town Manager Bill Ashton III told the council on May 26 that a partnership to bring the DMV to Herndon Fortnightly Library was underway — similar to services provided prior to the beginning of the pandemic.

“This location is ideal because of the ample parking conveniently located in downtown right off the [Washington & Old Dominion] Trail and it has an adjacent bus service to the library,” Ashton said.

Ashton noted that this option was less costly and provided services without the need for other resources.

But Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila said he thought the council was seeking more permanent offices for DMV, possibly on town-owned property.

“That was my understanding of what was requested,” del Aguila said.

Ashton said he thought the council was seeking a more short-term alternative and would look into the matter.

Councilmember Signe Friedrichs encouraged her colleagues to ensure that prioritized initiatives discussed during council meetings were clear and did not leave room for interpretation by staff.

“We need to be a lot more specific on these things…Do we really want to do this?” she said.

The discussion on the issue is preliminary — a feature that Councilmember Sean Regan emphasized is a part of the “iterative” process the town must pursue before long-term planning.

He noted that key information — including whether there is an unmet need and the DMV’s input on the issue — are needed before the possibility of a vote is considered.

Councilmember Pradip Dhakal encouraged town staff to explore the issue further.

“If we have something consistent and predictable, people will know and start following,” Dhakal said.

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