Tucson takes another step toward carbon neutrality

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — The city of Tucson is taking another step toward carbon neutrality by 2030, a goal it set last year.

He will hold a public hearing next week to hear arguments on a proposed code change that will require new builds to set aside a certain percentage of their parking spaces for electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles can be a key part of becoming carbon neutral.

The new construction will include office buildings, multi-family dwellings (apartments) and retail.

“Really, we’re just getting started,” said Daniel Bursuck, Tucson’s senior city planner. “But it’s a very big step forward.”

Under the code change, all new multi-family dwellings will be required to reserve 25% of their parking spaces for electric vehicles.

Commercial offices 20% and shops 10%.

This is the second step taken by the city. Earlier, it passed a code change that requires all new single-family homes to be ready or capable for electric vehicles.

The main reason, aside from the savings in emissions, is that it is much cheaper to put the necessary infrastructure in place during construction than to come back later to make the necessary adjustments.

“It costs three to four times as much after construction to go back, to put all the infrastructure in place, than it does when you first build,” Bursuck said.

Electric vehicles only represent 2% of the automotive market at present, but this should change quickly.

“There’s a lot of things pointing to that,” Bursuck said. “Available today, there are 50 electric vehicles currently on the market, and by next year there should be 130 different electric vehicles on the market.”

“Automakers have already flagged this happening,” said Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Kozachik. “So what we’re saying, let’s be proactive in the city of Tucson.”

By being proactive, Kozachik says it’s time to prepare for what’s inevitable rather than trying to catch up later.

“The reality is that we’re trying to make sure that people entering the EV market have a fair chance to get their car charged,” Kozachik said. “All we’re saying is prepare your spot because the manufacturers have already said this is the wave of the future.”

The new rules will not cover existing apartments or commercial buildings, only new ones.

“We’re not going to force someone to go back and retrofit what they already have there,” Kozachik said. “It could be a substantial cost and I don’t think it would be fair to owners.”

The city also says it will be flexible on some rules because not all builds are the same and that could cause problems for some electric vehicle owners.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where the apartment complex didn’t have enough parking spaces because there are EV spots that nobody uses to charge their EVs,” Bursuck said.

The public hearing is Tuesday, April 19, 2022 during the evening municipal council meeting.

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