License plate office returns to Orange County

tgrubb@newsobserver.comAugust 27, 2013 

  • License plate offices

    Chapel Hill’s new DMV license plate and vehicle registration office is set to open Oct. 16 at 1704-B E. Franklin St., adjacent to Staples and Blockbuster Video in the Gateway Commons Plaza. The office hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

    Operations manager Bruce Farmer said Monday a website with important information about DMV services is up and running. To reach the Chapel Hill DMV or get more information, go online to www.orangecounty-dmv.org or call 919-942-4972.Until then, Orange County drivers can access DMV services in Durham at:

    • 1058 W. Club Blvd., Suite 6, Durham. 919-286-4908.

    • 5410 N.C. 55, Suite AB, Durham. 919-544-3662.

— Orange County residents will drive fewer miles to renew their car registrations and license plates when a new N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles office opens in October on East Franklin Street.

The county has been without a local DMV license plate agency since November. Caprina Kirkpatrick, who had run a license plate agency in University Mall since 1989, was charged with embezzling $4,280 in state money. The loss of a local office forced Orange County car owners to drive to license plate agencies in Durham, Burlington and Siler City.

The state contracts for roughly 120 license plate agencies. Orange County has driver’s license offices in Carrboro and Hillsborough, but no offices where drivers can get vehicle titles, registrations and license plates.

DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell said she does not know how Kirkpatrick’s case was resolved, but the state has negotiated a new contract with Bruce Farmer, of Calvary Management, who already operates a DMV office on N.C. 55 in Durham.

Farmer said the office in Suite B at 1704 E. Franklin St., near Staples, could open Oct. 16. Howell said it has taken nearly a year to reopen, because DMV officials had to make sure it would be financially feasible before advertising the contract.

License plate offices are operated as private businesses. Contractors complete a three-week class before hiring staff and installing the equipment, Howell said.

“They have to be financially responsible, have business experience (and), of course, be trustworthy and pass the background checks,” she said.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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