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Ordinance addition aimed at electric vehicles



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February 15, 2012 - Electric vehicles are coming and Oxford Township wants to be prepared for their arrival.

That's why township officials are looking to incorporate language concerning electric vehicle charging stations into the municipality's zoning ordinance.

Last week, the township board voted unanimously to conduct a first reading Wednesday, March 14 of a new zoning ordinance section allowing parking spaces dedicated as charging stations to be counted when it comes to calculating the total amount of off-street parking required for various private developments.

In other words, if the size and use of a proposed development requires 25 parking spaces and the owner wishes to designate two spaces as charging stations, they would count as part of the total needed under the zoning ordinance.

"These stations shall be signed and reserved for electric vehicle charging only," according to the proposed section.

Township Trustee Mike Spisz, who serves on the planning commission, said this proposed language is meant to serve as an "incentive" for private developers to incorporate charging stations into their projects.

This way the township is able to offer charging stations to accommodate motorists who need them, however, there's no cost to the taxpayers because they will all be privately developed and maintained.

Auto companies like General Motors, Ford and Nissan predict that by 2020 at least 10 percent of their overall sales will be electric vehicles.

Trustee Melvin (Buck) Cryderman asked what would happen to drivers who park gasoline-powered vehicles in these spaces. He wanted to know if these people would be towed or issued a ticket, like when someone parks in a handicapped spaced without a proper permit.

"There was no discussion at the planning commission level relative to anyone parking there that didn't have an electric vehicle," Spisz said.

"I would like to see a penalty," said Supervisor Bill Dunn.

It was noted handicapped parking violations are covered under state law, so that's why drivers can be ticketed.

Currently, there is no provision under state law concerning gasoline vehicles parking in spaces meant for charging electric vehicles, but that could change in the future.

Trustee Joe Bunting indicated right now, it would be up to private property owners to pay for any signage and enforcement, such as towing, related to these charging stations.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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