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Bucks County, Middletown, Embrace Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. But Not All Types Are Acceptable Yet in Newtown Jointure

Bucks County, Middletown, Embrace Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. But Not All Types Are Acceptable Yet in Newtown Jointure | Newtown News of Interest |

[Source: May 13, 2022, BCCT]


Bucks' commissioners recently approved installing electric-vehicle charging stations at Peace Valley Park in Central Bucks. Some municipalities, such as Middletown, Wrightstown and Quakertown, also are getting on the electric vehicle charging bandwagon, with charging stations already available or in the works.


[Read “Newtown Township's Planning Commission Discusses Electric Vehicle Charging Stations”; Some charging stations, however, include electronic message signs (ads) that are not permitted in the Jointure, comprised of Newtown, Wrightstown, and Upper Makefield. Fore more about that, read “Volta's Plan for (FREE) EV Charging Stations”; and see “Insights” below.]


Middletown Township recently received a $215,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection for the installation of four DC fast charging stations at municipal building. The grant was part of $2.l million in state Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants to municipalities and businesses for 99 electric vehicles and more clean fuel transportation projects across the state.


Middletown Board of Supervisors Chairperson Mike Ksiazek said this grant will further the township's efforts to embrace EVs and clean energy. "We are very excited about this in Middletown. Last year we enacted a township climate action plan with the long term goal of increasing environ-mental sustainability and reducing greenhouse gasses here…We already have two charging station in the township and last year, we approved two more. We are also moving to replace our police cars with electric vehicles."


Locally, energy provider PECO announced its Level 2 Commercial EV Charging Pilot rebate program, which provides incentives to commercial and industrial customers to offset the cost of installing EV charging infrastructure at workplaces, retail businesses, public charging areas, and multi-unit dwellings. Projects located within PECO's service territory are eligible to receive up to$2,000 per charging port or 50 percent of eligible make-ready costs, up to a maximum of 20 ports. The rebate can reach $3,000 if other stipulations are met. [Listen to podcast: “PECO Representative Discusses Municipal EV Charging Station Options, Rebates, & Grants”;]


johnmacknewtown's insight:

On May 5, 2022, I attended the Joint Zoning Council (JZC, at which I brought up the unique FREE EV charging station solution offered by Volta, LLC. As JZC is considering drafting a new ordinance to address electric vehicle charging stations, the Newtown Planning Commission recommended that the applicant make a presentation to the Jointure.


Prior to the meeting I contacted Chester Pogonowski, Chair of the JZC, via email to inquire about Volta attending this meeting. He replied: “I don't know if that is appropriate. We did not meet with Wawa for help writing the ordinance. We have brought in independent consultants to provide input but never an applicant.” Consequently, JZC decided not to invite a representative of Volta to appear before the Council.


Meanwhile, Volta is applying for a variance from the Newtown Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) to allow it to install 2 of its charging stations in the ACME parking lot in the Newtown Shopping Center. The hearing is scheduled for June 2, 2022. The Board of Supervisors will send its solicitor to oppose this variance because of the electronic messaging.


My opinion is that the Jointure needs to carve out a special exception in its signage ordinance to allow these types of charging stations in certain off-road specific locations. Either that, or draft a EV charging station ordinance that allows such a use.


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johnmacknewtown's comment, July 8, 2022 9:48 AM
UPDATE (7/7/2022): The application was withdrawn. No explanation was given, but I heard that the company is having problems and may have ceased operations.
Newtown News of Interest
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