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EV charging station faces hurdles

ENCINITAS — A proposed “gas station” for electric vehicles on City Hall’s overflow parking that was proposed nearly three years ago has the City Council’s support, but faces significant hurdles.

The proposed electric vehicle charging station and companion “convenience lounge,” would be the first of its kind in the country.

The developer, Corridor Power Inc., see the project as a unique opportunity to build electric vehicle infrastructure along the coast, which could foster other types of businesses, including electric car sharing services.

Originally the project, which was first discussed by the City Council in 2013, was expected to be small enough in scope that it could be approved at the staff level.

However, city staff at the Jan. 13 council meeting expressed concern that the scope of the current iteration of the project would need to go through the complete planning process, which includes going through the planning commission.

The planning department’s chief concerns were that the project would eliminate a location being considered for potential housing as part of the housing element, that the project might not fit the land-use designation of the property, and that losing seven parking spaces from the overflow lot to accommodate the convenience lounge could be illegal under city code, as City Hall currently does not have enough parking spaces as provided under city code.

The City Council directed staff to continue working with the developer to address the project’s concerns. Several of the members were supportive of the concept, but said they needed clarity on some of the issues that staff had brought up before they could proceed.

“I like this project and I am prepared to support it,” Catherine Blakespear said. “I feel like big picture it is important that we create this electric vehicle network. This is an opportunity for us to have a cool, local climate cooling project in our city.”