Gardiner EV station to impose fee after first two hours

Owners of electric vehicles who have been hogging the free EV charging station located at the Gardiner Library will soon have to pay for the privilege. At its workshop meeting on Tuesday, December 7, the Gardiner Town Board voted to impose a fee of $.25 per kilowatt-hour after the first two hours of usage. The new policy will take effect in June, upon the expiration of local business subsidies for the service that made charging free for the station’s first two years of operation.

According to supervisor Marybeth Majestic, some vehicles have recently been spotted “parked there for extended periods, resulting in high bills – sometimes seven or eight hours, even overnight.” She said that she had researched the policies of other towns in the mid-Hudson and found charging a fee after the first two hours to be common practice. She based her proposal to set the rate at $.25/KWH on the Town of Ghent in Columbia County, which she characterized as “fair” based on conversations with Jason Mayer of Climate Smart Gardiner and representatives of the EV station operator, ChargePoint, Inc.

Two councilmen, David Dukler and Franco Carucci, argued that $.50/KWH is a more usual rate in many towns. Dukler cast the sole vote against the proposal on the grounds that $.25/KWH is too low.

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Also at the December 7 meeting, the Town Board scheduled a public hearing for January 11 on the proposed Kennel Law. The current moratorium on consideration of applications to operate dog kennels in the Town of Gardiner expires in February, Majestic noted. It thus appears likely that a vote will be taken to adopt the current draft of the law at that same meeting, unless significant public opposition is voiced at the hearing.

The Town Board also approved the Planning Board’s request to serve as lead agency on State Environmental Quality Review of the application by Wireless Edge to build a cell tower on the Town-owned highway garage property on South Mountain Road. Supervisor Majestic noted that the Town Board had not yet had an opportunity to review the results of the balloon test conducted by Wireless Edge in November to measure the potential visual impact of building a tower on the site.