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Delta bylaw change to require EV charging capacity in all new builds

EV capacity to be required in single-family, duplex, townhome, commercial and industrial projects
City-owned electric vehicle charging stations outside the North Delta Centre for the Arts. On April 25, 2022, Delta council gave first and second reading to a zoning bylaw amendment raising the EV charging requirement in new multi-unit and mixed residential buildings to 100 per cent of vehicle spaces and adding requirements for single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, as well as commercial and industrial developments — none of which are currently required to build in EV charging capacity. (James Smith photo)

Delta is moving forward with changes to its zoning bylaw that would significantly increase the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations required in new residential and non-residential builds.

Council Monday afternoon (April 25) voted 6-1 to give first and second reading to an amendment raising the EV charging requirement in new multi-unit and mixed residential buildings to 100 per cent of vehicle spaces. The amendment also adds requirements for single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, as well as commercial and industrial developments — none of which are currently required to build in EV charging capacity.

“We must continue to push builders in our community to do more as we transition towards a low-carbon and eventually a zero-carbon economy,” Coun. Dylan Kruger, who chairs the city’s climate action and community liveability advisory committee as well as the mayor’s task force on building permits and development applications, said at Monday’s council meeting.

“The reality is that’s not an option that’s up for debate; it’s something that has to happen and we need to make we’re future-proofing new buildings that are being constructed in our community in order to allow for that future reality.”

A staff report to council notes B.C.’s Zero-Emission Vehicles Act requires that sales and leases of light-duty vehicles must meet an escalating annual percentage of zero-emission vehicles, including 10 per cent by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040.

“The implication of this requirement is that, during the lifespan of a new building , it is very likely that close to 100 percent of the vehicles will be electric,” the report states. “Proactively introducing requirements for charging stations will help alleviate the costs and technical challenges that may arise if such facilities are not incorporated into the design prior to construction.”

According to the report, most municipalities in the region — including Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond and New Westminster — now require 100 per cent of residential parking spaces to have energized electrical outlets capable of providing Level 2 charging or higher.

As well, several cites, including Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, both the City and District of North Vancouver, and Port Moody, have also included electric vehicle charging requirements for non-residential buildings.

RELAETD: Surrey’s electric-vehicle charging network nears 100 stations (March 13, 2022)

Under the updated zoning regulations, the requirement for new multi-unit and mixed residential developments would be raised from a minimum of 20 per cent of spaces at least roughed-in for EV charging (in buildings of more than six units) to 100 per cent, including accessible parking spaces.

This could be provided either as an outlet on a dedicated circuit for each parking space with sufficient electrical panel capacity and physical space for a Level 2 charging station, or an installed charging station on a shared circuit with a networked load management system for all parking spaces in the building.

Visitor parking spaces would not be required to provide EV charging.

Delta’s zoning bylaw currently includes requirements for bicycle parking in new multi-unit and mixed residential developments, but does not specify provisions for electric bicycle (e-bike) charging. The amendment would make it mandatory for new builds to provide enough Level 1 electrical outlets in each bicycle parking area or room to accommodate charging for one in every four bicycle spaces.

For new single detached homes and duplexes, the bylaw amendment would require at least one Level 2-capable outlet for each unit. Secondary suites and coach houses would be excluded from this requirement.

Townhouse developments with shared parking areas would have to provide charging capability for 100 per cent of parking spaces, similar to multi-unit residential and mixed-use developments, while developments with garages for each dwelling unit would be requirement is to provide one outlet capable of Level 2 charging or higher, like with single-detached and duplex residential developments.

Commercial developments would be required to provide Level 2 charging capacity or higher for 20 percent of parking spaces, either in the form of load-sharing equipment or dedicated energized electrical outlets. Industrial buildings, meanwhile, would need to provide Level 2 charging equipment or outlets at five per cent of spaces.

The requirements for commercial and industrial properties would apply to new developments, as well as to sites where significant modifications are made, for example the addition of floor space or a change in building use. Minor changes, such as tenant improvements to allow for a new retail store in an existing shopping centre, would not trigger the new requirements.

Council Monday also voted 6-1 to waive sending the bylaw amendment to a public hearing as it is not required under the Local Government Act. The move opposed by Coun. Lois Jackson, who also voted against the rest of the recommendations.

“There are a lot of questions that arise from the report and I think that the community would be interested in having input into this overall report and the bylaw that’s being put forward.”

In response, Kruger said the city has already engaged with the public in numerous ways regarding climate action and electric vehicle strategies and will continue to do so, but that the delay caused by sending the bylaw amendment to public hearing “may be doing ourselves and the environment a disservice.”

“I think a very large topic of conversation in the community — and in the region and in the province — of late has been the need for elected officials to make decisions on these critical matters in a timely way,” he said.

“We have applications coming forward to council every single week for review and I think it’s absolutely urgent that this bylaw be approved and that these new standards come into place. So I don’t think the public hearing is the appropriate vessel to receive community input.”

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James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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