Last Tuesday the Howard County Council voted on a bill to authorize the Howard County Police Department to enforce parking restrictions at designated plug-in vehicle charging stations on private property. Within four days, the Columbia Association had taken down all signs that said “EV PARKING ONLY” at their five EV charging stations in the county.
Dennis Mattey, Director of Open Space & Facilities Services at Columbia Association said the “EV PARKING ONLY” signs were taken down in response to the recent Howard County legislation. He said that they didn’t want people to get tickets. According to Mattey, the charging stations were originally approved under the premise that the parking spots not be only for EVs. He said the signs will be replaced with ones that designate EV preferred parking.
The reason given for removing the signs contradicts the Columbia Association’s earlier position that “EV ONLY” signs were not posted because of the absence of legislation related to EV charging spaces.
In a Columbia Association Newsletter announcing the charging stations in 2014, the reason given as to why the charging spots were not reserved for EVs only was said to be because of the lack of an enforceable law.
“There are several reasons the adjacent parking spaces are not posted as reserved for EV use only. First there is no statute in Maryland or Howard County designating EV charging station sites as a category of privileged parking (such as the signage posted for handicapped parking). Thus, there is no police enforcement mechanism for EV only designation.”
When Howard County passed its anti-ICEing law in July, 2014, the Columbia Association changed the signs from “Electric Vehicle Charging Station” to “EV PARKING ONLY 4 HOUR LIMIT” once they saw there was an enforceable regulation for EV charging station parking.
The advocacy for the Howard County anti-ICEing law was done largely to solve the problem at the Columbia Association charging stations, especially the one near Kahler Hall. Now that a law has been passed, the Columbia Association has reversed their position and cites the existence rather than the lack of an enforceable regulation as the reason not to reserve the charging spaces for EVs only.
A statewide anti-ICEing bill, sponsored by Delegate Clarence Lam, is now before the Maryland General Assembly.