Adams stays in the running for Langley council seat

Langley Passage or no Langley Passage, Robin Adams remains a candidate for the vacant position on the Langley City Council, he confirmed Thursday.

“I’ve considered this carefully,” Adams said. “I’m expressing my willingness to serve, and am being completely open about what my position is.”

Earlier this month, Adams said he would probably withdraw from council consideration if the Langley Passage controversy wasn’t resolved before the council interviewed candidates.

But Thursday, Adams, one of four candidates for the council position left open by the resignation of Russell Sparkman in October, said his involvement in the scrum surrounding the development would have no bearing on his ability to serve.

“But whichever way it goes,” he added, “it wouldn’t be right for me to vote on it.”

City council members will choose a successor to Sparkman at their regular meeting next week. The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 at city hall on Second Street.

Four have applied for the position. The others are Hal Seligson, Kathleen Waters and Thomas Gill. The four current council members will interview the candidates, then announce their selection and swear in the winner the same night.

The winner will serve until next fall, when an election will be held for the position.

Adams said he applied for the council position thinking Langley Passage had been settled.

The 20-lot subdivision in Adams’ Edgecliff neighborhood has been tangled in city hall red tape since 2006, only to be rejected last month by the city council.

But Douglas Kelly, an attorney for the developers, Whidbey Neighborhood Partners, warned the council in a letter that too many appeals against the project had been permitted by the city, according to its own legal code.

Kelly cautioned that if the city doesn’t backtrack to correct the problem, it may be inviting a lawsuit.

The council put its findings of fact on hold until Kelly’s assertions could be examined. This month, the council decided to postpone further discussion of the project until after the New Year.

Adams has been in the forefront of efforts pushing for rejection of Langley Passage on technical environmental grounds.

He has been a spokesman for the Langley Critical Area Alliance, a group of Edgecliff neighbors and other area residents opposed to the development, fearing it would increase water runoff that would endanger the already deteriorating bluff across the street.

The alliance, along with the Whidbey Environmental Action Network, challenged city staff’s determination that Langley Passage meets environmental requirements. They also appealed the decision by the city’s Planning Advisory Board upholding the city’s environmental findings.

Adams said if he is selected for the city council, he will relinquish his role as a spokesman for LCAA, and that in any case the group has no further legal intentions in regard to the project.

“We’re completely satisfied with what the council has decided,” Adams said. “We’re not planning to sue the council. We’re happy.”

The question of Adams’ application for the city council in light of his LCAA involvement surfaced late last month when former Langley Mayor Neil Colburn urged council members to think long and hard before appointing someone “who has legal issues with the city.”

Adams said he plans to read a statement to council members on Monday night laying out his position on Langley Passage.

“There’s going to be a full disclosure,” he said. “Then it’s up to the council.”

Adams said that if he is being held accountable for his involvement in the Langley Passage controversy, the other applicants should be likewise held accountable.

He said Gill and Waters have expressed strong public support for Langley Passage. Seligson, meanwhile, has come out in favor of growth for the city, so long as it follows the precepts of the Growth Management Act.

Adams said he would like to see Whidbey Neighborhood Partners submit a revised proposal to the city rather than to proceed with a lawsuit.

“At the end of the day, it’s a legal question, something for the council and the lawyers to decide,” Adams added.

Adams said that whatever happens with Langley Passage, it will probably take time, meaning that any dissatisfaction with his or any other candidate’s position on the issue can be dealt with next fall.

“Anyone who’s aggravated about this can settle it in the election,” he said.

Adams has been a resident of Langley since 2007.

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