What Electric Vehicle (EV) Parking Ordinances Mean for Developers

14 July, 2022
  • Under the 2021 Model Statewide Municipal Electric Vehicle (EV) Ordinance, published by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), NJ developers must provide parking spaces that are “Make Ready” for an EV car charging provider to install charging stations.
  • In many cases, developers can leverage this mandate – and similar mandates across the country – to the project’s advantage.
  • Compliance with the ordinance provides a host of incentives and benefits including zoning relief, hands-off maintenance, and a phased build-out.
  • During due diligence, a site civil engineering consultant can help developers evaluate the ordinance’s impact on a particular site and strategize to create benefits.

For many land development projects across New Jersey, as of 2021, developers are required to provide electric vehicle (EV) parking spaces that have utility infrastructure in place for the installation of charging stations.

On September 1, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) published a Model Statewide Municipal EV Ordinance that each municipality must adopt. It was written with support from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Board of Public Utilities (BPU), to comply with P.L. 2021, c. 171, which Governor Phil Murphy signed into law on July 9, 2021.

Specific requirements regarding the quantity or percentage of electric vehicle supply (or service) equipment (EVSE) and “Make-Ready” spaces vary based on the size and type of development. Refer to Page 6, Section D of the ordinance for detailed information.

As a state ordinance, it governs all municipalities. While it remains unclear when individual municipalities will adopt and incorporate this regulation into their own ordinances, it has been Bohler’s experience over the past nine months that local boards are implementing this requirement on new site plan applications.

With regulations and incentives  increasing across the U.S. to promote the implementation of these stations, all developers (inside and outside of New Jersey) can consider these tips and strategies.

What Compliance Entails

Complying with the ordinance goes beyond allocating designated parking for Make-Ready EV charging purposes. It requires thinking strategically about the location of these spaces.

It may be advantageous to locate the spaces near the entrance or exit to the site near the roadway, where the charging stations would be most visible and easily accessible to users. This allows for quick entry and exit, while minimizing the internal circulation impact. Locating spaces close to the available utility infrastructure in the property frontage may cost less, as well.

Conversely, depending on the use, developers may consider locating the spaces near a building. This could be attractive to the end user on site to entice the visitor to shop, eat, or explore while their vehicle is charging.

Collaborate with your design team to determine the optimal location of these spaces based on the site’s operations.

Leveraging the Ordinance’s Benefits

  • Zoning relief. In some cases, the EV spaces provided will allow the site to comply with the code, even if the physical space count is less than required. EV Make-Ready spaces can count as twice the space count, up to 10% of the zoning requirement, depending on site-specific applications. This means that a developer with an under-parked site may be able to avoid a parking variance.
  • Hands-off installation and maintenance. Once the EV parking spaces are approved and “Make-Ready,” the developer or owner may choose to self-operate or lease these spaces to one of the many car charging station providers in the market. There are many providers and agreement options, including a completely “hands-off” approach, where the vendor manages all installation and maintenance of the charging stations.
  • Phased build-out. EV spaces do not have to be built all at once. Per the ordinance referenced above, a phased build and installation of charging stations over a defined timeline may be recommended.

Moving Forward

Bohler’s Ben Crowder, PE is leading efforts to stay ahead of this legislation and how it affects New Jersey’s commercial land development projects. Our teams are helping developers evaluate the ordinance’s impacts in due diligence to enable projects to move forward faster.

Ready to move forward in New Jersey? Contact our team in Warren, Red Bank, or Mount Laurel today.

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