Missouri state and local officials make requirements for electric vehicle charging stations more realistic

(The Center Square) – A week after the St. Louis County Council moved to amend an ordinance requiring electric vehicle charging stations, a legislator sponsoring a bill to force governments to pay for required stations urged repeal of the initiative.

Last October, the County Council passed an ordinance requiring electrical vehicle charging stations (EVCS) at all new construction, major remodels, parking lot construction, overlay projects and buildings changing use or occupancy classification. The ordinance led Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, to sponsor House Bill 1584, which would require any political subdivision adopting a policy requiring installation of EVCS to pay for all costs associated with the installation, maintenance and operation.

On Monday, Murphy sent a letter to Councilwoman Rita Heard Days, chair of the council, stating the EVCS ordinance shouldn’t be part of the county building code.

“The purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures,” Murphy wrote. “The vehicle electric charging station ordinance passed by the Council does nothing to protect public health and safety. It simply pushed a political agenda.”

The amended ordinance, introduced by Democrat Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway, the ordinance’s original sponsor, will apply only to parking lots with 31 or more spaces. The EVCS requirement will no longer be triggered by parking lot overlay projects or changes in use and occupancy. The amended ordinance narrows the scope of major remodeling not to include building repairs and clarifies parking lot alteration to be more than 50% of the parking area. Many exemptions to the amended ordinance were added, including most small retail businesses, schools and outpatient clinics.

“I’m grateful to the community for giving me the chance to hear you out, to work with you and together come up with bill language that undoes the harm that I didn’t intend that’s being caused to small businesses,” Dunaway told the County Council last week before it voted to move the amendment forward.

Murphy’s bill was approved by the House of Representatives 98-33 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

“I agree that electric vehicles are in the future and investment will be necessary before they are in widespread use,” Murphy said. “… As of today, less than 7,000 electric vehicles have been sold in Missouri and most to very well-off constituents. I cannot see any rational reason you would burden our businesses with this ridiculous mandate.”

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