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Langley council balks on zoning ordinance

By BEN WATANABE
South Whidbey Record Langley, Clinton, sports, South Whidbey Fire/EMS
January 17, 2013 · Updated 2:00 PM
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LANGLEY — Seeking a compromise, City Planner Jeff Arango thought his work with the ordinance on commercial development next to single family zoning was over.

Months of work and meetings with Langley’s Planning Advisory Board, residents and Mo’s Pub owners hit another snag Monday. Residents at the city council meeting blasted the ordinance for allegedly favoring the pub and ignoring its Second Street neighbors. And council members extended the ordinance to a second reading.

New rules included day and time limits for live, amplified music, buffers between properties and size restrictions on lounges. But one resident said the rules were empty.

“There’s no way to monitor and enforce, we don’t have that in a real serious process,” said Kay Lagerquist, who lives on Second Street.

As part of the new ordinance, live, amplified music would be allowed six times a year. Businesses wishing to have live bands would need a special permit, approved by the city council.

Lounges, 21-and-older areas where liquor is served, are limited to a 500 square-foot maximum space. Langley added a 30-foot buffer from the property lines next to a single family residential zone.

“This isn’t just in the best interest of the business owners, it also benefits the residents,” Arango said.

Noise inside the popular nightspot was just one part of the problems. Patrons at Mo’s, Lagerquist and others said, litter, loiter and yell outside the bar.

“We have a rare quality of life here, and it’s so unfortunate to think of a business such as Mo’s being next to a single family residence,” said one woman, a Langley business owner.

The council backed away from the staff and planning board’s recommendations to approve the ordinance. But at least one councilman was worried with the nature of hemming in Mo’s. Councilman Bruce Allen warned detractors that should Langley lose one of its few nightspots, the city could lose tourists’ dollars.

“If you start winding it down too tight, they’re not going to come here,” said Allen, a former employee at Mo’s.

While Langley’s Planning Advisory Board made the amendments and submitted its final recommendations to the city council for approval, any further changes will be made by the council.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.

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