New Policy Expands Options for Residential Charging
Guidelines developed by Montgomery County, Maryland will allow for privately owned EV charging stations to be installed in the public right of way adjacent to County streets. Residents of homes that qualify will be able to charge while parked on the curb using electricity from their home meter.
The curbside charging program is available to residents of single family homes or duplexes. Permits will be considered when a home doesn’t have a driveway and off-street parking cannot be built on the home’s property.
This is welcome news for many Montgomery County homeowners who’ve been wanting to buy an electric vehicle but only have curbside parking at home.
“We have installed electric vehicle charging stations in many of our parking garages, purchased electric and alternative fueled buses, implemented bike- and e-scooter sharing and many other measures to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “These new EV charging guidelines are the logical next step to encourage a shift to lower emission vehicles and ensure that charging on our public streets is done safely. The result is easy to understand and implement right now, but also allows us to adapt as technology advances.”
Process to Apply for a Curbside EV Charging Station
The Guidelines present five steps and three permitting options which will be guided by the initial determination by DPS.
Step 1: Initial Inquiry
Submit a letter of interest with a site plan.
Step 2: Initial Determination
DPS will review the request and issue an initial determination.
Step 3: Permitting Requirements
OPTION A – Existing Space with Access to Your Private Property
Apply for an electrical permit for an existing driveway, garage or parking pad.
OPTION B – New Curb Cut (Driveway or Parking Pad Installation)
If it’s determined that there’s enough room for a parking pad, apply for a zoning review, a ROW permit for a driveway apron and an electrical permit.
OPTION C – Within the Public Right of Way
If the property qualifies for installation in the right of way, a ROW permit and an electrical permit are required.
Design and Placement Guidelines for OPTION C:
- The space must comply with existing posted parking restrictions.
- Avoid conflicts with other utility infrastructure (existing utilities and laterals must be shown on site diagram for permit);
- Installation shall be at least 6 feet from fire hydrants;
- Avoid interference with vehicular sight lines at street corners or driveways;
- Minimize the removal of vegetation;
- Maximize the number of parking spaces the EV charging station could serve;
- EV charging station cords must not cross over sidewalks, walkways, or driveways, rather, station cords shall be automatically retractable;
- Installation shall be at least 18 inches from the face of the curb (in the planting strip if one is present); and,
- Preserve as much clear sidewalk width (path of travel) as possible, but no less than 3 feet.
- Position the EV charging station such that the stored connector is at a height of 24 inches to 48 inches above the parking surface (Electrical Code, Article 625.30(B));
- Install an enclosure or cage around the EV charging station to protect and control its use; if the charging station is not fully enclosed, the charging station cord and connector must be secured when not in use;
- Orient the EV charging station such that an enclosure door will not open past the curb face or over the sidewalk;
- Minimize the size of any enclosure around a charging station or cord. Colors and materials for any enclosure should minimize their visibility and integrate with the design of surrounding buildings and landscaping;
- No advertising is permitted on the charging station or associated enclosure.
Step 4: Installation
Once construction is complete, an inspection is required by the County Building and Safety Department.
Step 5: Operation
The owner is responsible for the safe operation of the EV charging station and must follow the conditions of the permits. If the ROW permit is revoked, the property owner is responsible for removing the EV charging equipment and restoring the public right of way to its original condition.
Willing to Consider Other Options
Montgomery County modeled their program on a Residential Curbside Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot in the City of Berkeley, CA. The Berkeley program was established in 2014 to address the challenges of residents who lacked a means of charging their EVs at home. Their pilot has been extended through December 2020.
Montgomery County encourages people to reach out even if none of the options presented suit their specific needs. They invite residents to contact them with a proposal. They say they are willing to evaluate the feasibility and safety of other options.
The Department of Permitting Services is planning to hold a webinar on these EV Charging Permitting Guidelines at a future date to be announced on the Montgomery County DPS Website.
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