RED BANK: EV SPACE? HOLD THAT THOUGHT

RB EV CHARGER 110614 2The public charging station, located outside borough hall, remained under wraps Thursday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

park itIt seems somebody at Red Bank borough hall was a little premature in telling redbankgreen that the town’s first and only public electric vehicle charging station would go live Thursday.

Workers from the parking department were heading over to activate the device for use at 10 a.m., a borough official told redbankgreen early Thursday.

But the charger, installed on Monmouth Street outside borough hall and under wraps for months, remained shrouded Thursday afternoon.

Why? Because while the borough council approved an ordinance amendment Wednesday designating the adjoining space for use by electric vehicles only – and only while they’re charging up – another law has to be amended for the usage fee to be imposed, says Clerk Pam Borghi.

That process could take a month or more, with two public hearings on an ordinance required by law. Borough Adminstrator Stanley Sickels said at Wednesday’s council meeting that the combined parking and charging fee would be $2 per hour, or $1 an hour more than non-charging curbside parking downtown.

In the interim, the space, marked off with a bright green curb and icon painted on the street surface, is now technically off-limits to all potential users, because the ordinance approved Wednesday took effect immediately.

Parking director Gary Watson said he was unaware of anyone from his department planning to activate the system Thursday morning. “That didn’t come from my desk,” he told redbankgreen Thursday afternoon.

He added that he wasn’t qualified to offer a legal opinion on whether the town can activate the charger prior to the ordinance for the fee being adopted. “But the system is ready to go,” he said.

Borough Attorney Dan O’Hern was not immediately available for comment.

Here’s the ordinance adopted Wednesday: 2014-20.