St. Paul may soon require EV charging requirements for developers

EV infrastructure plan

EV infrastructure plan

Trying to prepare for a lofty goal of having their streets 100% filled with electric vehicles (EV) in a few decades, St. Paul may soon require builders to have their parking lots prepared for EVs.

An ordinance, set to face a full council vote in their next meeting, would require a certain number of parking spots to be ready for EVs for new or repaved parking lots.

Specifically, for parking lots with more than 15 spots, the ordinance — the way it stands now — would require 80% of spaces to be EV ‘capable’, meaning that those spots are ready for wiring to be installed (for the physical charging device).

And, for new lots with more than 30 spaces, the ordinance calls for 1-in-every-30 spots to be EV ‘ready.’ That means the wiring is already in place.

An important note, this ordinance does not call for the physical chargers, but the power and wiring needed to run them.

“I think that this ordinance is important because first of all, there are surrounding communities that already basically have something like this forward facing,” Mitra Jalali, St. Paul City Council president, said.

Jalali says now is the time to take steps like these to meet the goals set by the city to move towards less emissions in the city.

“We know that a huge proportion of our future residents are going to be probably more likely to drive electric vehicles and more likely to live in multifamily housing. This policy makes that more cost-effective for everyone,” Jalali added.

She’s talking about the cost effectiveness of preparing for these charging stations, instead of retrofitting parking lots in the future. And that is something developer with projects in St. Paul, Sherman Associates, is fully aware of.

“Reducing carbon emissions is a big deal,” Dan Collison of Sherman Associates told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

One of the current projects, a 112-acre site named The Heights that will one day have multi-family residences, is getting constructed with this ordinance in mind.

“The cost to do it now, while you’re actually structurally building something, is just significantly smaller than it would be to have to retrofit,” he added.

A full council vote on the ordinance is set for their Wednesday meeting.