If Langley residents were asked to vote on having amplified rock music played in their neighborhoods on a monthly basis they would say, “No, of course not. Who in the world would?”
So, how did it happen that the Langley City Code was changed by a vote of three council members on June 19, 2017, to allow disturbing the peace of its neighborhoods? One would think city councils represented the wishes of its residents, yet, no one in Langley was asked. Not only did the council ignore previous and painful history on this issue, it acted without any depth of thinking at all.
A major challenge of relying on a mayor-council form of government that changes every few years is continuity of the culture. New members may not realize the historical precedents that are the basis of current city codes. Neighborhood organizations like LAND (Langley Association of Neighbors Downtown) can be essential for providing a common sense interface between the council, Langley residents and businesses.
LAND members presented concerns to the city council on Oct. 17, 2016, about the problems and dangers of having amplified music in neighborhoods. They referenced the previous five years of difficulties recorded by neighbors whose lives were disrupted by noise problems from the nearby business on Second Street, Mo’s Pub. A year ago LAND, hoping to prevent an avoidable disturbance from occurring again on Second Street, communicated directly to the council and the new business that’s advertising amplified music, The Machine Shop.
That code requires special permits and fees for allowing amplified music six times a year, along with many other conditions “to attenuate noise impact to adjacent residential properties.” LAND members asked the city council to stand by the Municipal Code as it is written. Code 18.22.095. And everyone agreed that it would be so.
On June 19, 2017, the city council voted to change the Municipal Code to allow 12 amplified music events annually. Why? More importantly, what can be done about a city council that does not represent the wishes of the people it is meant to serve?
SUSAN SCOTT and BARBARA SMALL