Environmental Review Page

Welcome to this website for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Normal Street Field Office Replacement Project, which is located in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. This page contains information and documents associated with the required environmental review process under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The proposed project entails demolition, construction, and continued operation of the proposed new DMV field office. DMV, with assistance from the Department of General Services – Real Estate Services Division (DGS), is the lead agency for this project.

Project Information
Project Background

The California DMV has determined that the existing DMV Normal Street field office is not sized appropriately to accommodate the existing staffing and service demand levels needed at this location. For this reason, DMV is proposing to demolish the existing DMV field office and construct a larger facility to accommodate the existing DMV staff and improve customer services. DMV will also seek to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver, or better, certification and achieve Zero Net Energy (ZNE) performance.

  • Location: 3960 Normal Street (Hillcrest neighborhood of the City of San Diego)
  • Site Size: 2.46 acres on existing DMV site
  • Bound by: Lincoln Avenue to the north, Cleveland Avenue to the west, and Normal Street to the east


Site Location

Surrounding development includes two- to three-story multifamily residential development and a large vacant lot located to the east of the Normal Street field office, a church, multifamily and single-family residential development, and a single-story building housing a restaurant, which is located to the northeast, north, and northwest of the Normal Street field office. Land uses to the west of the site and adjacent to Cleveland Avenue include a gated small car maintenance/smog test station shop, a single-family residence (one-story), several two-story multifamily developments, and a gated community church and preschool campus development. South of Harvey Milk Street, there is office and commercial space as well as a United States Postal Service office.

Project Description

The new field office building would be designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – New Construction (LEED-ND) Silver certification and would target Zero Net Energy (ZNE) consumption.

As proposed, the new building would be designed to more efficiently accommodate and serve the existing daily staff of 45, and the approximate number of daily customers of 931. It will include multiple service counters and a large public service area, a testing area, staff workrooms and open work areas, staff multipurpose rooms, and public and staff restrooms.

Project Design

The new DMV field office would be a single-story building that is approximately 35 feet high. The building roof would consist of a gently curved metal decking over engineered wood trusses, and the partial concrete masonry unit structure’s façades would include sections of exposed concrete, glass, and steel elements.

A large canopy roof would cover the open “public hall” area where DMV transactions would take place. In addition to interior lighting, the area would be illuminated by natural daylight that would enter through windows on the east, north, and west façades of the building. The canopy roof would extend to the north and west and would create a protected entry plaza for waiting customers, provide a weather cover for the vehicle testing lanes, and shade the building’s west-facing windows.

Outside of the facility a series of plaza spaces are proposed that would link parking and the main entrance on the building’s north façade. Plaza spaces would be landscaped with drought-tolerant plants appropriate to the region. Raised planters in the plaza areas would provide seating and gathering spaces for customers. In addition, a large pedestrian space shaded by overhead solar panels would be constructed, and this central space would provide customers a clear route from their vehicles to the building entry. The space would serve as an area where customers could wait outside for appointments and other DMV-related matters. The site perimeter would include a 7-foot-high, ornamental wrought-iron fence with a painted finish and motorized cantilevered rolling gates. In addition, pedestrian gates would be provided on the east and west sides of the site, along Normal Street and Cleveland Avenue, for access to the main entrance of the facility.

This DMV field office services a high volume of pedestrian and/or transit-based traffic compared to other San Diego-area DMV field offices. Therefore, on-site circulation would have a heavy focus on pedestrian- and transit-oriented travelers. The project would change the on-site circulation system and parking lot layout in order to achieve optimal circulation and efficiency. Currently, 11 driveways provide access to the site. Five existing driveways along Cleveland Avenue and three existing driveways along Normal Street would be eliminated. Under the proposed project, one driveway along Normal Street and one along Cleveland Avenue would provide site ingress/egress. In addition, along Cleveland Avenue, toward the southern end of the site, there would be one exit-only driveway onto Cleveland Avenue (available for drivers taking their test).

Currently, the parking lot includes 172 spaces. The proposed project would include 141 spaces, as well as a vehicle staging area with carport and test lanes, and one lane to circumvent test lanes.