Langley holds last hearing on transferring city marina to port

Langley will hold a final hearing tonight on the transfer of the city marina to the Port of South Whidbey. - Brian Kelly
Langley will hold a final hearing tonight on the transfer of the city marina to the Port of South Whidbey.
— image credit: Brian Kelly

Tonight is the public’s last chance to be heard before the city of Langley will declare the marina as surplus property and turn it over to the Port of South Whidbey.

Declaring the property surplus is the last legal step to be taken before the property can be transfered.

“When one public entity sells property to another, the state requires that the property is formally declared surplus,” City Administrator Walt Blackford explained.

Both the city and the port agreed on the transfer of Langley’s small boat harbor in April.

The port takeover came after five months of negotiations.

No money will change hands in the deal, but Langley will continue to run the marina until January 2009 and will keep the revenue generated from the small boat harbor over that time span. Then the port will take over, but Langley will keep its Wharf Street right-of-way.

The Langley City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. at city hall.

Following the public hearing on the marina, the city council will discuss designating the property as surplus land and will take a first-reading vote on the ordinance declaring the city marina and adjacent uplands as surplus. The ordinance will also authorize the mayor to give the property to the port.

Blackford expects the final vote on the ordinance at the council meeting on June 6.

The port, meanwhile, will work on finalizing the purchase of the breakwater floats for the small boat harbor. The city and the port will also cooperate on a plan for the marina’s future.

“In the not-too-distant future, we’ll be working on the master plan before the marina, and we expect that to be done before the transfer,” Blackford said.

Updating the 2004 Harbor Master Plan is part of the agreement between the city and the port on the marina transfer. The port will also immediately start the permitting process and engineering for the proposed harbor improvements.

Port manager Ed Field said he is excited that the process is moving forward.

However, after the agreement between the city and the port was completed in April, the port was given the go-ahead for site investigations needed prior to starting improvements and other work.

“We’re really happy. But the surplus issue is really a formality,” Field said.

Work on other projects will move forward, as well. The city and the port will both try to attract passenger ferries and small cruise vessels to Langley. The port will actively seek to provide better access for pedestrians and non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks.

According to the interlocal agreement, the city will be responsible for beginning work on the boat ramp and park improvements, a project that had been stalled by disagreements between city and port before the transfer was initiated. Construction is scheduled to begin in June.

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