Port tries to refine marina design again

The Port of South Whidbey will take another look at the proposed design for rebuilding the Langley Marina after the port takes over the property next January.

At 7:30 tonight at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland, port commissioners will examine four new layout options from engineering consultant Art Anderson Associates.

“We will have an open discussion between the commissioners and the public,” said port manager Ed Field.

The four options are variations on the theme of more is better. The current plan, or Phase I, involves minor upland changes and the addition of seven new boat slips. That approach, however, has been deemed too small in scope to provide any significant income.

Each new option increases slips from 30 to 50 with an entrance moved from the northeast to the southeast.

“At our meetings, a number of boaters have said that a southeast entrance provides better storm protection,” Field said.

“The downside has been concerns about draft restrictions, but our consultant may have overcome these.”

Field added that, as of Monday, port staff is busy crunching the cost impact for renovating the marina and officials expect to have estimates for each design by tonight.

Port officials have said in the past the marina makeover may cost as much as $20 million. Commissioners have considered tripling the port’s property tax levy to pay for the improvements, or forming a special taxing district that could raise property taxes for six years without a public vote. Both ideas have been cheered and jeered, however.

Port Commissioner Lynae Slinden said the meeting is to review several new options for a revised harbor plan and the port’s choice of possible means of funding.

“If we can settle on a final design, we will be revisiting possible funding mechanisms, such as the levy lift in November or creating an industrial development district,” Slinden said.

Before tonight’s regular meeting, commissioners will consider an amendment to the port’s comprehensive plan to clarify its support of scuba diving.

“The idea is to encourage dive-related businesses and tourism, plus support establishment of dive-related facilities, the enhancement of habitat and improvements to Puget Sound marine conditions,” Field said.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or

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