Congratulations Leon County, Florida, the latest municipality to pass an EV-Ready policy, one of the most cost-effective strategies to increase infrastructure and enable access to home charging for more community members.Dory Larsen | May 27, 2022
On May 10, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners adopted an ordinance enhancing electric vehicle (EV) charging station infrastructure and EV parking requirements. The intent of the ordinance is to “facilitate the use of EVs and to further the establishment of a convenient, cost-effective EV infrastructure that will accommodate future technology advancement.”
Leon County – which contains Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee – began the process of enhancing EV infrastructure years ago with the adoption of the Sustainability Action Plan which contains a goal of reducing the County’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2030 based on a 2015 baseline. To that end, the County has installed charging stations at County facilities and has begun transitioning the light-duty fleet to electric vehicles.
The Ordinance was a collaborative effort by staff between several departments including the Planning Department, the Office of Resource Stewardship, and Development Services and Environmental Management (DSEM). After the Planning Department found the Ordinance to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission came to a similar determination. It was vetted by stakeholders, like DSEM’s Advisory Committee for Quality Growth (ACQG) and the Building Industry Association (BIA), and revised based on their feedback. We at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy also had an opportunity to share resources including ordinances from other municipalities across the region and provide insights on State and Federal EV programs.
Ultimately, the County landed on an ordinance that requires Level 2 EV readiness for three categories:
- Townhouse or condominium projects with more than three units (one per unit),
- A 10% ratio of required parking spaces for multi-family residential properties, and
- A sliding scale of the ratio required based on intensity for mixed-use and commercial projects.
The staff report recognizes the need for EV-preparedness action at all levels of government as well as public-private partnerships. They identify two State reports, the Florida Department Of Transportation (FDOT)’s EV Infrastructure Master Plan and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services EV Roadmap, that provide suggestions as to the role local governments can play to support growing EV demands. Specifically, Leon County points to establishing local partnerships and adopting an EV-Ready Ordinance as initial steps that local governments may take to best position themselves to be competitive for future grant funding.
Some of the other ways Leon County supports renewable energy include its goals of converting 75% of lights in County facilities to LED and ensuring sustainable design in 100% of repairs, renovations, and new construction of County buildings. Some successes include launching the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in 2017 and maintaining the Cooperative Extension Building as a net-zero building since 2012.
Congratulations to Leon County on recognizing the importance of and establishing an ordinance that will contribute to the positive momentum of EVs throughout Florida and in turn, the region. For context, Florida ranks number two in the region in terms of per capita charging deployment but is still below the national average. This ordinance is an active step toward increasing infrastructure and that it is distributed so that it is more accessible and affordable for all community members.
Electrify the South is a Southern Alliance for Clean Energy program that leverages research, advocacy, and outreach to promote renewable energy and accelerate the equitable transition to electric transportation throughout the Southeast. Visit ElectrifytheSouth.org to learn more and connect with us. For more ideas on how to increase EV adoption in our communities, like EV-Ready code, take a look at our ET Toolkit.