City Council may require electric car chargers at new developments
East Lansing may require all new developments to include electric car charging stations.
At the Nov. 20 city council meeting, an ordinance to require this was introduced in an effort to improve green transportation in the city.
Specifically, the ordinance would “establish requirements to provide for charging stations for electric vehicles ... will require installation of electric vehicle charging stations for new and modified commercial, multi-family, and mixed-use development projects,” according to the Nov. 20 meeting agenda.
“Our environmental commission has been looking at this as part of bigger discussions, a bigger look at green building standards and how to weave some of our sustainability goals into our building codes,” Councilmember Shanna Draheim said.
Although developments were previously required to include charging stations through special-use permits, the council wanted to make the requirement more comprehensive, Draheim said.
This ordinance, if passed, would not affect developments currently under construction, like Center City or the Hub.
Draheim said a draft of the ordinance has been written, but it’s doesn’t have all the specifics yet.
“We’re discussing how that would be (done). The draft has something in there about the number required based on how big the parking (in the development) is,” she said.
As to whether the use of these charging stations will be open to the public, Draheim says it depends.
“If it is residential parking and it isn’t public parking then it could be just for that. If it’s for a commercial development it would, by nature, be more available for customers,” she said. “We didn’t specify, at least thus far, in the draft whether these have to be public charging stations.”
There are some electric charging stations already in East Lansing, including the parking lot outside of City Hall, but Draheim says that isn’t enough for residents.
These charging stations also give those moving into the new developments a reason to purchase electric vehicles, knowing they’ll have a place to charge them, which will in turn help the environment, Draheim said.
Planning and Zoning Director David Haywood said installation of the charging stations would come at no additional cost to the city, as it would be paid for by developers and property owners. Additionally, Haywood said there was no logistical issue to adding charging stations in regards to the city’s zoning laws.
“It’s just one more thing to check off our reviews of developments,” Haywood said.
Haywood said he looked forward to hearing more from the public and getting the project off the ground.
Lacie Hudson, an East Lansing resident and Michigan State University student, said she’s a little skeptical about developers being required to install what she views as a niche item.
“I feel 50-50. I don’t think we need a lot of those tools all around the city,” Hudson said. “If you have a car that needs to be charged, charge it at home. I feel there are some parking structures that already have something like that. I don’t think making it a point to go all across the city and having a station and a station here is necessary.”
Draheim said if all goes well with the public hearing — and if the ordinance is eventually passed — it would go into effect quickly.
“I think this is an important step in our city continuing to be more sustainable and meeting the needs of our residents, as they are trying to do that in their own decisions with their automobile purchases,” she said.