Planning intern Adam Herberg reported to the Park Rapids Planning Commission on Monday about his draft update of the city’s comprehensive plan, adding a section about electric vehicle (EV) readiness.

Herberg argued that promoting EV readiness is in the community’s economic interest, with tourists increasingly planning their travel routes around the availability of charging stations.

His proposal lists the following goals:

  • Reduce emissions and move the city toward becoming 100 percent carbon neutral.

  • Encourage businesses to adopt EV charging stations.

  • Create and maintain infrastructure for future EV charging stations.

  • Use EV charging facilities to promote downtown tourism.

  • Promote clean energy practices communitywide.

Herberg also proposed strategies, action steps and policy practices to support these goals.

Bradow questioned one of the strategies stated under the third goal – “requiring businesses to add infrastructure for future EV stations if adding or remodeling (a) parking lot.”

As the owner of a commercial building with a private parking lot, Bradow was concerned about the cost of requiring such an upgrade before he can resurface the lot.

Herberg noted that estimated costs for such improvements are spelled out in the proposal for a downtown EV charging station, which the city council approved on July 14. He added that the comprehensive plan update is only a draft, and the commission is free to add or delete wording before approval.

Mack added that as a “goal,” rather than a law, a provision of the draft comprehensive plan update can be used to guide the commission’s thinking about conditional use permit requests, on a case by case basis, such as whether or not it is appropriate to add a condition based on those goals.

Because the draft comprehensive plan update was not ready on time to announce a public hearing Monday, Mack asked for a motion to discuss the proposed EV readiness section at a public hearing next month. Swanson made the motion, which passed unanimously.