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Langley sees future shoreline changes

By BEN WATANABE
South Whidbey Record Sports, Langley, South Whidbey Fire/EMS
December 31, 2012 · Updated 2:41 PM
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LANGLEY — New zoning rules favored public shoreline, a light industrial area and a possible RV park in Langley city limits.

Langley’s planning advisory board recently approved eight amendments to its comprehensive plan, which dictates the city’s possibilities for growth and utility.

Amendments to the city’s shoreline master program included rezoning on Sunrise Lane. The Department of Ecology had reviewed the changes, which Langley Planning Director Jeff Arango said were well received. Four properties on Sunrise Lane were recommended to be rezoned from residential to the city’s central business district. According to the board’s agenda, the changes will “facilitate the redevelopment of these properties with expanded and (improved) public access to the shoreline.”

Considering a small neighborhood with prime South Whidbey real estate could one day have four businesses in its midst, one board member noticed the absence of any Sunrise Lane residents.

“I’m surprised people who live on Sunrise Lane aren’t here saying, ‘Wait, I don’t want my neighborhood rezoned,’” said Gail Fleming.

City officials have pursued the creation of a light industrial zone. The idea was to bring industry to town and with it, money. Arango spoke of a salmon farm as an example, though that was an unlikely choice because of ecology rules. An area off Coles Road was discussed as a possible place for light industrial or mixed use. Before anything actually moves forward, the city council and the city’s residents would have their say.

“I think it’s going to take more time to involve people and, in particular, people who live nearby,” Arango said.

With so much space available at the Island County fairgrounds on Camano Avenue, Langley officials considered expanding the RV park. The main concern of creating a lot for large trailers, campers and recreational vehicles to park was a possible conflict with the area’s use in August for the Whidbey Island Area Fair. Arango quelled those fears and said the fair would take precedent and the RV park would be closed during the fair.

Another issue with turning an open field into a rentable RV park was infrastructure. RV parks need power and water connections, and possibly bathrooms.

“I really like the idea because it would bring more dollars into the city,” said advisory board member Roger Gage.

Getting people around town was also at issue for the planning advisory board. Already, Langley has two well-publicized plans for transporting people to the Village by the Sea: the funicular from the marina to Cascade Avenue and a possible Sunday bus service from the Clinton ferry. Added to the comprehensive plan was a proposed pedestrian connection from the Langley Marina to Seawall Park and a connection of Second and Third streets through the U.S. Post Office parking lot. Currently, someone driving on Second Street who wants to park on Third Street has to drive around to Anthes Avenue.

“More connections are usually better because of traffic flow,” Arango said.

All five board members were present at the group’s last meeting of 2012.

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