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Huntington Beach moves toward adding more electric vehicle charging stations

Huntington Beach moves toward adding more electric vehicle charging stations
Huntington Beach is sorting out details of increasing charging stations for electric vehicles before requests for proposals are sought from vendors. (File Photo / AP)

Additional electric vehicle charging stations may be installed throughout Huntington Beach in the near future.

Following a 7-0 City Council vote Monday, City Manager Fred Wilson will iron out the details of potentially increasing charging stations before requests for proposals are sought from vendors.

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The stations’ size and scope will be discussed at a future study session.

Huntington Beach currently has charging stations in the downtown parking structure and at City Hall and the Pier Plaza parking area.

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Councilman Patrick Brenden, who proposed the idea, said more charging stations could help attract businesses and expand the city’s sales tax base.

“When someone plugs in charging stations, they tend to stay and shop longer,” Brenden said.

According to data Brenden presented Monday, auto companies such as Porsche, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover are shifting toward electric vehicles.

Mayor Pro Tem Erik Peterson supported the idea but voiced concern that additional charging stations could eliminate parking spaces for regular vehicles downtown, an area already facing “parking issues.” Peterson suggested collecting input from city staff and the community.

Councilwoman Jill Hardy suggested contacting utility company Southern California Edison, which launched an electric vehicle pilot program to help increase the availability of fast-charging stations.

Possible exemption to housing law

In other business Monday, the council directed City Attorney Michael Gates to investigate ways to exempt the city from a new law that forces cities that are behind on their housing goals to streamline certain housing projects by eliminating some steps in the approval process.

Senate Bill 35, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year and went into effect in January, removes the requirement for environmental analysis, conditional use permits and other entitlements granted by the Planning Commission.

“Back in Dec. 4 when sworn in as mayor, I vowed to maintain and retain local control,” said Mayor Mike Posey, who proposed seeking exemption.

Gates will report to the council about the topic in closed session within 45 days.

City to form Harbor Commission

The council also unanimously approved creating a commission to oversee Huntington Harbour.

The Harbor Commission will offer input to the City Council about residential, recreational and commercial uses in the area, including watercraft.

Huntington Harbour, in the northwest corner of the city bordering Seal Beach, includes five islands and a network of channels. It connects to Anaheim Bay through a waterway.

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