Guest Columnist Sheila DeCiccio
The City of Winter Park looks toward the future of transportation as discussion revs up at the April 23 Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Board regarding a proposed Electric Vehicle (EV) ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance is to bring forth regulations for EV charging, infrastructure and ways to handle development projects that were already in process prior to the EV ordinance.
FL Ranks in Top 5 for EV Sales
Florida ranks within the top five states for sales of electric and hybrid vehicles. In fact, a majority of buyers for electric and hybrid vehicles are located right here in Central Florida. By the year 2030, estimated annual national sales of EV’s will exceed 3.5 million vehicles, accounting for more than 20 percent of vehicle sales in the U.S.
Vehicles Running on Gas are 2nd Greatest Cause of Carbon Emissions
Currently, vehicles that burn fossil fuel – gasoline – are the second greatest cause of carbon emissions. Their replacement by electric cars will result in a reduction in the city’s carbon emissions, quieter and more livable streets and improved air quality.
WP Already Has 6 Charging Stations
Since 2011, Winter Park has installed six electric charging stations. Each charging station can charge two cars, one on either side. Stations are available to everyone, free of charge.
Electric Utility Companies Face Greater Demand for Power
For the sake of our state’s economy, infrastructure, and air quality, Central Florida must not only prepare for electric cars, but must be a leader in setting the stage for parking lots full of EVs. Utility companies, for example, will have to prepare for the increased demand for power as consumers charge their car batteries at home, at work or while shopping. Florida Power has already begun by increasing their capacity with solar panels, but there is more work to be done.
WP Ordinance Will Affect New Construction
The proposed Winter Park ordinance will require builders and developers to provide at least two electric charging stations in commercial parking lots that have more than 50 spaces. The ordinance also requires new residential and multifamily homes to include wiring built into the garage or common-use parking lot.
Incentives Are a Possibility
There may be incentives to help with the cost of wiring, such as a rebate from the utility company. An exact amount has not been determined but is under consideration. Some counties and cities provide rebates as high as $500.
WP Maintains Vision of Healthy, Sustainable Future
The above are just a few of the opening ideas which will go through much discussion. The good news is that the process has begun, and that Winter Park is staying consistent with its vision of promoting a healthy and sustainable future for all generations.
Sheila DeCiccio is an attorney with DeCiccio & Johnson. She has served on the Planning & Zoning Board for the past six years. She and her husband have been Winter Park residents since 1982. Their two children were born here and are being raised here.