Permitting Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Best Practices
California has the most robust ZEV infrastructure in the country, but also one of the most challenging permitting environments. To reach true market potential as quickly as possible, our goal is for California to be the most straightforward place in the country to install market enabling ZEV charging and fueling infrastructure.
AB 1236 (2015), codified in Government Code Section 65850.7, requires cities and counties to adopt streamlined permitting procedures for electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS), including a streamlining ordinance and checklist. City and county streamlining status is reflected on the EVCS Streamlining Map and jurisdictions are graded based on the Permitting Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Scorecard.
To assist jurisdictions with adopting streamlined permitting procedures, GO-Biz assembled the following information and best practices.
AB 1236 requires cities and counties to adopt an ordinance that creates an expedited, streamlined permitting process for EVCS. The Scorecard lists the AB 1236 criteria that must be included in a jurisdiction’s ordinance. Best practice example of ordinances for jurisdictions that meet all 8 Scorecard criteria are linked below:
- City of Redlands Municipal Code Title 15, Section 15.58: Electric Vehicle Charging Systems
- City of Fresno Municipal Code Chapter 11, Article 1, Section 11-113: Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Review Process
- San Luis Obispo County Municipal Code Title 19, Section 19.09.016: Expedited permitting for electric vehicle charging stations
*Note that although bonus criteria #8 is not included in this ordinance, it is included on the County webpage.
Jurisdictions have flexibility to determine how to best develop a permitting checklist based on their permitting process. Once a city or county decides what information is required in an EVCS permit application, it is a best practice to combine those requirements and any helpful guidance into a single checklist document. The checklist should make the application process clear and straightforward for the applicant and must be available online. Some jurisdictions combine their checklist and application into one document for submission. Best practice examples of checklists for streamlined jurisdictions are linked below:
- City of West Hollywood Permitting Checklist for Electric Vehicle Service Equipment for Existing Residential and Nonresidential Buildings
*Note that West Hollywood’s online resource, EV Charge Up West Hollywood, is one of the best examples in California of a jurisdiction’s commitment to permit streamlining.
- Sonoma County Expedited Permitting Process for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
- City of Fresno Submittal Requirements for Electric Vehicle Charging Station Applications
The Electric Vehicle Charging Station Permitting Guidebook is intended to hasten the transition to plug-in electric vehicles by simplifying the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations. The Guidebook helps create a shared foundation of understanding for how cities, counties, and developers can work together to streamline the planning, permitting, installation, and ongoing operation of charging stations and supporting equipment.
The California Building Officials have a helpful Electric Vehicle Charging webpage, which includes AB 1236 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Toolkits (located at the bottom of the page) to assist local jurisdictions with streamlining their permitting procedures. The Toolkits contain model ordinances, checklist templates, and other helpful materials.
The Plug In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Permitting Checklist, created by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, serves as a comprehensive start-to-finish list to aid jurisdictions in better understanding the EVCS installation process and to consider as they develop permitting procedures. This checklist should not be used as a verbatim checklist for city or county compliance with AB 1236.
For permit streamlining templates and assistance, please contact the ZEV Unit.