car charging station

Little Elm Mayor David Hillock said there have been several projects over the years that the town didn’t plan for because it simply didn’t know they would happen.

Such as water reuse lines.

But the town sees a potential growth in the use of electric cars and the need for charging stations. So now the town is planning for it.

Tuesday the Town Council and town staff discussed proposed updates to the zoning ordinances. Among the proposals is to require the infrastructure to be put in place for charging stations at new commercial developments based on its size. Existing developments would not have to retrofit the infrastructure.

“I hate to see us miss an opportunity now for something that’s happening in the marketplace,” Hillock said.

Plans call for the infrastructure to support one to 25 charging stations.

“In reality, with the growth of the electric market today, 10 years from now one out of every 25 cars will probably be electric,” Hillock said. “At least.”

Councilman Nick Musteen said he received data at a recent Texas Municipal League (TML) conference that shows the rising use of electric cars.

He said according to that data, Texas is No. 4 for electric vehicle usage, and there are approximately 50,000 registered in the Dallas Metroplex, which leads the market.

He said Texas gives a $2,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles.

Musteen said it costs between $4,000 and $6,000, and he said it costs between $5,000 and $15,000 to install them.

Hillock said like everything else, it would cost more to add the infrastructure in the longer the town waits.

“The reality is if we don’t at least plan for it today it’s going to cost a whole lot more to rehab later, to retrofit all of these properties,” Hillock said.

Some council members cautioned against requiring too much from the developer. Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Cornelious said at his workplace there are more than 600 parking spaces and just two charging stations.

“One to 25 might be excessive, to me, just looking at how it works,” Cornelious said.

Hillock said the town can always remove the requirement through a planned development if it doesn’t make sense for a particular project.

“But I think at least having the infrastructure in there is going to make some sense long term to accommodate what may happen,” Hillock said.

Skye Thibodeaux, planning manager, said if a developer chooses not to put one in, there would be a variance process in place.

Fred Gibbs, director of development services, said tying the number of charging stations to the number of parking spaces may be the way to go since parking spaces is dictated by the square footage.

“If for every 50 spaces or 100 spaces you want one or two of these, that’s a good application, that’s up front and that’s easy to determine right off the top,” Gibbs said.

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