The city of Dinuba makes the red tape for electric vehicle charging stations a little easier to cut through following state mandate
DINUBA – Smaller cities all across California are straightening up their ordinances to make way for electric car charging stations, and Dinuba is right there with them.
In accordance with state legislation, cities like Dinuba with less than 200,000 residents are required to make for a quick and easy permitting process for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. After its second reading, the city of Dinuba officially adopted the ordinance at its Jan. 10 city council meeting. From a statewide standpoint, Dinuba’s public works business manager George Avila said the goal is to enable people’s interest in going electric and eliminate any type of obstacles that could interfere.
“By establishing this expedited process, it facilitates these permits being issued,” Avila said. “So people can be more motivated to build an electric vehicle charging station.”
In addition to speeding up the permitting process, the updated ordinance is part of an overall scheme to minimize air pollution. According to a city staff report on the matter, the statewide plan is to cut down on motorized vehicle emissions and assure the best interest in public health, welfare and safety. With this emphasis on bringing emissions down, Avila said it appears the state is giving priority to electric vehicles as it pulls away from the use of fossil fuels.
“There’s a bunch of things that are being done,” Avila said. “It’s all part of the grand plan and effort from the state to promote cleaner air.”
To get a station, residents will have to fill out a checklist detailing the area of desired installation, the station’s size, zoning etc, and other technical aspects like the station’s voltage, according to Dinuba city attorney David Yanez. He said the state provided examples of ordinances that fall in compliance with the mandate, so the city adopted a code that was deemed basic and straightforward with no major changes to report on the overall ordinance. The checklist is currently in the process of becoming finalized and should be ready to go after input from the city’s fire department is received, according to Yanez.
“That should be approved and ready on the city’s website by Feb. 10, when the ordinance takes effect,” Yanez said.
Also according to the city staff report, the city’s review period timeline is based on the size of the EV station project. Yanez said the standard timeline is based on the state’s established five to 10-day wait for permitting approval, but if the project exceeds 25 stations, then the city has more time to review the application. If an applicant does not receive a response on their permit within the required timeline, then the application is essentially deemed approved and the applicant can carry on the next step. However, Yanez said the city understands it needs to review the applications and provide feedback right away, or they might miss an opportunity to address and mitigate health and safety concerns with the applicant.
“That’s really what the law is saying, that cities can really only review this if there’s some health and safety concerns,” Yanez said.
The mandate for updated EV station codes officially became operative in 2023. The city already had an ordinance for EV charging stations in place following a mandate from Assembly Bill (AB) 1236, which went into effect in 2017 as per the bill’s requirements. However, the passing of AB 970 in 2021 had cities tidying up their city codes to ensure the permitting for the stations could be streamlined. Larger cities were expected to make this change by January 2022 but smaller cities, like Dinuba, had a deadline set for January 2023. Yanez said the city fell a little behind on getting the ordinance updated prior to Jan. 1, due to meeting cancellations and the holidays, but predicted that there shouldn’t be any repercussions on the matter.