Drivers of electric vehicles could soon see charging stations and other amenities in the city of Blaine after an amendment approved by Blaine City Council.
In their regular meeting Monday, the council voted 6-0 to approve an amendment to the city’s zoning code that would allow for electrical vehicle charging stations and battery exchanges.
Blaine planning director Michael Jones said Washington state requires all municipalities along I-5 corridor to allow for electrical vehicle charging and battery exchange stations within their jurisdictions, and that the city is one of the first small cities to revise its code in compliance.
While the amendment restricts such stations to non-residential areas, it does allow for personal use charging stations so residents with electric vehicles can charge their car from home.
The move comes after a state mandate issued by Washington state governor Chris Gregoire last year. In it, Gregoire announced that electric vehicle infrastructure efforts would benefit from $1.32 million in new Federal Recovery Act funding.
The state is currently working on plans to provide an initial network of public access electric vehicle recharging stations along
I-5. Once completed, Washington would be the first state to offer border-to-border fast charge technology.
The infrastructure will enable electric vehicle drivers to travel the length of the state along the 276 miles of I-5 between Washington’s borders with Oregon and Canada.
Nearly 300,000 electric vehicles are projected to be used on state roads during the next 10 years.
City council member Harry Robinson asked if the state will later require cities to build electric vehicle charging stations.
Jones said the current mandate does not require cities to install charging stations, but doing so could be an opportunity to market the city to drivers of such vehicles.
“There is certainly an opportunity there,” he said.