New developments in Brookhaven will be required to include electric vehicle charging stations as the city continues to implement sustainability initiatives.

The City Council voted 3-1 at its July 23 meeting to approve an ordinance that requires public electric vehicle charging stations in 5% of off-street parking for new construction in multifamily residential, commercial, employment, mixed-use, master planned development and Peachtree Road districts.

The council also approved requiring the installation of equipment for EV charging stations in new homes built in RS, R3 and RSA residential areas. Equipment includes connectors, attachment plugs, power outlets, wiring, electrical capacity and other wiring necessary that allows the installation of a future charging station.

The ordinance also says that a parking space with a public electric vehicle charging station will count as two spaces to meet minimum off-street parking requirements for lots and garages that need more than 10 spaces. The ordinance went into effect immediately.

The city Planning Commission had recommended 2% of new construction in certain districts be required to have electric vehicle charging stations, but Councilmember Linley Jones, who drives a plug-in electric hybrid, made the motion to raise the number to 5%.

The council learned during a work session presentation on sustainability by management analyst Marybeth Bucklen that Brookhaven has about 1,000 registered vehicles in the city. There are about 22,000 electric vehicles registered in the state, giving Brookhaven about 4.4% of the state’s total of electric vehicles.

Councilmember Bates Mattison voted “no” because he said he’d prefer the city offer incentives for developers to build electric vehicle charging stations rather than requiring them do so.

“I’m a huge proponent of the intent, but I’m not comfortable with a mandate,” he said.

With Councilmember Joe Gebbia absent from the meeting, Mayor John Ernst was able to cast a vote as part of the quorum.

“We are fastly moving to electric transportation,” said Ernst, who drives an electric Nissan Leaf. The ordinance, he said, lays the groundwork for the future. He also noted the ordinance only applies to new construction.

In 2017, the city of Atlanta passed an ordinance requiring all new residential homes and public parking facilities to accommodate electric vehicles. That ordinance requires 20% of the spaces in all new commercial and multifamily parking structures be electric-vehicle-ready, according to a press release. It also requires that all new houses be equipped with the infrastructure needed to install EV charging stations, such as conduit, wiring and electrical capacity.

Brookhaven has four charging stations at City Hall and one at Skyland Park. Plans are to install stations at more parks.

The city recently purchased a 2015 Tesla electric car for $45,000 with confiscated drug funds to use on patrol as city officials look to replace the police fleet with electric cars.

The city’s new public safety and municipal court building to be built along the Peachtree Creek Greenway will also include charging stations.