County approves 18-month waiver of fees for installing electric vehicle chargers

An electric vehicle charger at the Sully Community Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax County will waive fees for permitting and installing electric vehicle chargers for at least the next year and a half.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday (Oct. 11) to waive all county-imposed permit, installation and signage fees for electric vehicle chargers for a trial period of 18 months. The waiving of fees will go into effect alongside the release of the new Planning and Land Use System (PLUS) on Oct. 31.

“Exempting EVC installations from permit fees may help incentivize use of electric vehicles,” reads the staff report as the rationalization to waive fees.

Staff said it will report back to the board in a year on the “effectiveness of eliminating permit fees in incentivizing installation of EVC equipment.”

Coupled with the “Charge Up Fairfax” program aimed at supporting HOAs in installing electric vehicle chargers, the fee waivers indicate the supervisors have made it a clear priority to encourage more of the public to make the transition to electric vehicles.

The board directed staff in late September to look at the possibility of suspending the fees.

“This is but another step towards our journey of a carbon-free Fairfax,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck said. “[It’s] an essential statement about our board’s further commitment to incentivizing, supporting, and encouraging…folks who want to make a difference with the vehicles they drive. That and buildings are the single highest emitters of carbon and if we can start addressing those two major ones…we can start making a difference.”

He noted that this might be “one piece…of a larger package” in reducing the county’s carbon footprint, but it’s one of the “most visible” pieces.

The board vote technically included a public hearing, but no one from the public commented. The discussion was also minimal among supervisors, only lasting a few minutes.

By waiving the fees, however, the county will be missing out on some money. Fees vary depending on the size and complexity of the charging stations, but the county is expected to lose between $10,000 to $15,000 in revenue during fiscal year 2023, which started July 1.

Still, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the entire Land Development Services budget.

“The lost revenue will not have a significant impact on the adopted LDS budget of approximately $46 million,” reads the staff report.

As a whole, the county’s budget is nearly $5 billion.

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