SOUTH PLAINFIELD — One of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission's most notorious offices is closing in May.

MVC spokeswoman Marin Bellack said legislators were sent a letter with the news that the  landlord of the office at the Golden Acres shopping center will not renew the lease, and the facility will shut down May 13. Bellack did not know why the landlord would not renew.

"Customers that had previously gone to South Plainfield will be able to benefit from upcoming renovations and expansions," Bellack said, including the closest branch iin Edison which Bellack said would be undergoing "significant" renovations.

In the meantime, Bellack suggested using offices in Somerville, Flemington and South Brunswick because those have lower volumes of customers.

"We're also looking to online services so our customers won't have to go into the agencies such as 'Skip the trip' where you can renew through the mail," Bellack said.

The alternatives don't sit well with state Sen. Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., D-Middlesex, who called them "disingenuous" in a statement to TAPinto Plainfield. The Democrat said that the MVC should have looked for a new location in South Plainfield.

"I can only imagine the lines that will soon be forming at the Edison location," he said. "We should be focused on improving services and opening more agencies to offer greater convenience rather than closing them down with no immediate plan for a replacement."

South Plainfield Mayor Matthew P. Anesh is concerned about impact of the closure on the borough. "The lack of an immediate alternate location in South Plainfield will lead to increased delays and frustrations for residents in South Plainfield and the surrounding communities. I urge the MVC to consider returning to the prior South Plainfield location at Middlesex Mall or other available South Plainfield locations to ensure the MVC can meet the demands of residents of the surrounding communities," the mayor told New Jersey 101.5 in an email.

According to a 2007 press release, the MVC moved to its current location from the mall as part of a statewide modernization effort of  its facilities.The facilities are about 5 miles apart on opposite sides of Route 287.

The office was often cited by callers to New Jersey 101.5 as having poor customer service and long lines.

"It's not just their rudeness but it's an attitude of disdain that people need their stuff done," caller Jane said.

Caller Patty said, "I'm from South Plainfield. I use it as least as possible."

A call from mother Stacy Pilato to last April's Ask the Governor program, because she couldn't get a replacement for her son Issac's driver's permit after it went through the wash, prompted a visit by Gov. Chris Christie.

"The problem was that the folks here did not give these folks clear instructions about what they needed to bring in order to replace the permit," Christie said after his visit. "Quite frankly, I think they got frustrated in there and didn’t remember that these are our customers and they’re supposed to be helping them."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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