EV charging station could be coming to City Hall

ENCINITAS — Encinitas officials have signaled their support for a proposal that would convert City Hall’s lower parking lot into an electric vehicle fueling station for three years.

But the council voted to have a subcommittee work on the contract to include several concessions offered by the developer, including free charging for Encinitas residents, employees and city vehicles, and parking for motorists during non-peak hours and city events, among other things.

The council voted 5-0 to create the subcommittee composed of Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath. That subcommittee’s recommendations will then be added to the contract, which the city manager and city attorney will then execute with Encinitas-based Corridor Power, Inc.

“I am really excited about this project, I think it’s an important part of doing our part for the environment and our residents by helping to drive behavior, when they have the gas-station equivalent for people to be powering up,” Blakespear said.

Corridor Power has been attempting to build the so-called “gas station” for electric vehicles for four years.

The proposal consists of shade canopies, 10 EV charging towers and a 480-square-foot driver’s lounge and retail store within the lower city-owned parking lot on the northeast corner of Vulcan Avenue and E Street.

The licensing agreement before the council didn’t include the incentives offered by Corridor Power, including the free charging for residents and employees and available parking for major events.

Blakespear said she liked the project, but wanted to make sure those items were in the contract before the city executed the agreement.

The council also asked for the company to include Encinitas brochures and information in the proposed driver’s lounge.

Corridor Power executive Angus Clark did not object to the council’s requests.

The charging station was first proposed in 2013, and in 2014 the Department of Energy awarded Corridor Power a $500,000 grant for the project. It received a time extension in fall 2016, as the winter 2016 deadline to complete the project was rapidly approaching.

Originally, staff recommended denying the project, but the Planning Commission in September 2016 issued an interpretation that found that the station was an allowable use under city code as a demonstration project.

Clark urged the commission to approve the company’s permit requests at the May 4 meeting. The Planning Commission expressed concerns about the amount of traffic the station will generate and the net loss of parking and how it would impact surrounding areas, but members said they were ultimately satisfied with the answers they received from the planning staff and Corridor representatives.

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