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Electric car charging stations may soon be allowed in Flowery Branch

POSTED: February 27, 2017 6:15 p.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

The city of Gainesville opened an electric vehicle charging station in the city's Main Street Parking Lot off Jesse Jewell Parkway in December 2015. The Flowery Branch City Council is set to vote Thursday on an ordinance legalizing the stations outside of a person's home.

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Electric car charging stations outside of a person’s home — such as at a shopping center — may soon be legalized in Flowery Branch.

“Electric vehicles are becoming more prevalent, and Flowery Branch should allow the option to have charging stations for these types of vehicles,” a city document states.

The Flowery Branch City Council is set to vote on an ordinance approving the stations at its regular meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday.

City planner Rich Atkinson said the city hasn’t had any particular demand from businesses or residents for the stations.

The South Hall city is “just trying to be proactive,” he said.

Homeowners can have a charging system at home, usually in the garage, as long as they get a permit from the city to “make sure the wiring is done properly,” Atkinson said.

The ordinance also says vehicle charging equipment “must be designed and located so as not to impede pedestrian, bicycle or wheelchair movement or create safety hazards on sidewalks.”

Charging stations have been installed in other areas in Hall County, such as the Kroger Marketplace at New Holland Market off Jesse Jewell and Limestone parkways.

In December 2015, the city of Gainesville opened a charging station in the city’s Main Street Parking Lot off Jesse Jewell Parkway, between Main and Maple streets.

“I never thought I’d see the day where we would have total electric cars, but here we are, and it looks like it’s the wave of the future,” Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan said at the time.

Gainesville had looked at the charging station as a way to both serve electric vehicle drivers and encourage shoppers in the city’s downtown area.

The idea is that because it takes an hour or more to restore a car to full charge, motorists can venture into the nearby square and check out stores and restaurants.

The charging station is heavily used, city officials said.

“There’s really no trend in the days of the week,” Gainesville spokeswoman Catiel Felts said Monday. “It’s all over the place. Fridays are high, but so are Tuesdays and sometimes Thursdays.”

Oakwood hopes to set up an electric car charging station at some point.

“As a community that values environmental stewardship, we simply want to encourage energy conservation by making it easier for people to use alternative-fuel vehicles,” Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown has said.

At one point, the South Hall city was looking at setting up a station in the park-and-ride lot off Interstate 985’s Exit 17, or at the busy intersection of Thurmon Tanner Parkway and Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13.

But because the Georgia Department of Transportation determined users couldn’t be charged a fee, the city began looking at other options.



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