Humboldt Charges Ahead with EV Stations

Humboldt County is taking action to comply with a state law requiring expedited permitting for electric vehicle charging stations and Supervisor Mike Wilson has described it as a first step toward electric switchover.

“It’s the minimum and I think we need to start talking about what we can do, beyond streamlining the permit process, to actually encourage implementation and construction of these charging stations,” he said during the Sept. 12 Board of Supervisors meeting. “It’s the future and the county needs to be a part of that future – so we’ll be talking about it in the future, hopefully not too distant.”

County supervisors approved introduction of the EV station permitting ordinance at the meeting, with final adoption set for this week.

Mike Wilson

The ordinance puts the county on track to comply with a state law that requires municipalities with less than 200,000 residents to adopt permitting streamlining for EV charging stations by Sept. 30.

The county’s ordinance “basically identifies that these will be approved on an over-the-counter basis, as we can,” said Planning Director John Ford. “It sets that goal but if we can’t do it over-the-counter, we’ll do it within two days.”

Responding to a question from Supervisor Rex Bohn, Ford said the ordinance’s description of over-the-counter permitting for EV stations makes it more explicit than a similar ordinance for solar power systems.

Supervisor Estelle Fennell described charging stations as facilities that are in demand. “I think people who are interested in the charging stations and these vehicles don’t need very much prompting – they’re chomping at the bit,” she said.

Noting that Humboldt County as a whole has many charging stations per capita, Bohn said, “We’re doing pretty good, we’re ramping it up and obviously the electric vehicle market is expanding rapidly so I think we’re in tune to keep pace.”

A written staff report states that there is “minimal financial impact” related to the ordinance. The report also states that “there is the possibility of increased permit revenue in the future as a result of this ordinance as it will expedite the process for permitting electric vehicle charging stations.”

Humboldt Charges Ahead with EV Stations, by Daniel Mintz, Mad River Union, September 26, 2017.

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