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Dueling Over The DMV: Haverstraw V. Clarkstown

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DMV Considers Whether To Renew Lease In Samsondale Plaza Or Relocate To More Central Location

By Tina Traster

West Haverstraw and state officials are fighting hard to keep the Department of Motor Vehicles in Samsondale Plaza on Route 9W but no decision has yet been made. Several sources confirmed negotiations are ongoing but uncertainly lingers over whether the DMV, which has been at the shopping center for more than a half century, will relocate.

“We are fighting hard to keep it in West Haverstraw,” said Village of West Haverstraw’s Mayor Robert D’Amelio. The DMV plays an important role in our local economy.”

D’Amelio and Town of Haverstraw Mayor Howard Phillips are being aided in their struggle to keep the DMV local by New York State Senator James Skoufis (D). The senator’s office confirmed efforts are ongoing to retain the DMV and that no final decision has been rendered.

But officials in Clarkstown, who say the DMV’s lease is up and is in negotiation with its landlord, the Paragon Realty Group LLC, are also fighting hard to lure the DMV, hoping the state agency will consider empty space at a shopping center such as The Hub in Central Nyack or even the Shops at Nanuet.

D’Amelio says between 800 and 1,200 people visit the DMV daily. Traffic to the DMV spills over to other retailers in the shopping center and along the Route 9W corridor, as well as to restaurants and gas stations.

“The managers at Stop & Shop tell me people come over to the store to fill out DMV forms,” said the mayor. They get something to eat. They buy food while they’re there.”

But Clarkstown officials say they’ve extended invitations to the DMV to consider a more central location along Route 59, a four-lane state highway.

“There’s always a lot of traffic on Route 9W, especially during rush hour,” said one official who is familiar with the situation.

“The DMV has come down to look at two locations in Clarkstown,” said the Clarkstown official. “They’ve looked at the space where Met Fresh was at The Hub Shopping Center and at the Shops At Nanuet. It would be a shot in the arm for local businesses here.”

Which means a potential black eye for the Village of West Haverstraw and the Town of Haverstraw.

“In this economy, we can’t afford to lose more tenants,” said D’Amelio. “This could really affect our tax base. It could trigger a tax assessment.”

Samsondale Plaza, a 140,000-square-foot shopping center, is anchored by Shop & Stop and tenants including include Mandee, Advance Auto, Sprint, Rent A Center and Dollar Tree. The landlord, Paragon Realty Group LLC is marketing four spaces, ranging from 1,125-square-feet to 9,372 square feet – about 10% of its total space.

On its Loopnet page, Paragon cites the DMV as a “strong daily draw to the retail center.”

A Paragon official said the DMV is a good and long-time tenant but confirmed no final decision has been reached.