TRUMBULL, CT — Planning and Zoning Commission members expressed concern about a proposal to put four level-3 DC fast electric vehicle charging stalls at the mall.
Commissioners voted to keep the application open and consider it again in December. They asked for Electrify America, mall officials and town planners to work together and consider some possible alternative locations at the mall property.
The proposed four-stall charging area is near the main entrance of the mall on an existing island near the ring road that goes around the mall. Some commissioners expressed concern about the proposed location being near a high traffic area instead of a lower-traffic portion of the parking lot.
“It just seems to me that it’s a dangerous place to put it,” Planning and Zoning Commission member Tony Chory said at the Nov. 18 meeting.
There was also concern about recent landscaping upgrades being removed to install a large electrical structure. Many of the upgrades were made in concert with the Residences at Main apartment complex building.
“You are talking about replacing landscaping that is the initial eye catch when you come into this property…” said Planning and Zoning Chairman Fred Garrity, Jr.
There is already a level-2 charging station at the mall, which can fully charge some electric vehicles in seven or eight hours.
The Electrify America chargers are capable of substantially charging some EVs in as little as 30 minutes, said Marisa Gedeon, who is working with Electrify America on the application. The DC chargers are better suited to mall customers who could charge their vehicle quickly during a shopping trip, she said. A smartphone app would let customers know when their vehicle was done charging.
The charging area would need large electrical equipment to convert utility electricity to the high voltage direct current needed for the fast charging speeds.
Mall representatives offered another possible location for the charger on the opposite side of the property closer to JcPenney, but it would require a 460-foot run of electrical equipment to the nearest power source, Gedeon said. The primary location offered is across the roadway from the nearest power source.
The fast chargers could be a drawing point for electric vehicle owners looking to move to the future mall apartment development, said Beverly Baraza, a landscape architect who helped with the proposal. She added that Electrify America would be willing to replace any landscaping areas that are removed.
“A lot of those people may have electric vehicles,” Baraza said “That apartment isn’t going to provide charging stations for them, if they can look across the street… that’s a selling point for the mall.”