Parking is a problem at Moore's marina
June 25, 2008 · Updated 1:39 PM
"A lack of private parking at the old Langley Marina building may stop a Langley developer from reviving the business.While explaining her plans for opening a new marine services store to the Langley City Council Wednesday, potential Langley Marina owner Linda Moore learned that she might not be able to provide enough parking for her business to satisfy city ordinances. The building, which Moore plans to purchase from owner Barney Hein on June 16, sits on a narrow strip of land between a city right-of-way and publicly owned tidelands. Moore used more than an hour at Wednesday's city council meeting to explain her plans to replace the condemned marina building and to open it as a marine fuel, food, and fishing retail operation.About halfway through her presentation, Moore learned from Mayor Lloyd Furman that she cannot buy or lease enough land from the city to provide the parking that city ordinance requires. In the past, Langley Marina customers parked in spaces in the city's right-of-way in front of the marina building. Furman said that while that parking may continue, it does not satisfy the city's regulation that requires merchants to provide their own private parking spaces.Moore, who is within a month of closing a purchase deal on the building, said the city's rule will jeopardize her loan and her ability to redevelop the property.Then I can't in good sense close, she said.Councilmember Neil Colburn, who identified himself as a supporter of Moore's project, said the city's ordinance is unrealistic in regard to the marina property. He said the city cannot simply ignore the fact that the city-owned parking spaces in front of the marina building have been used as business parking for decades. Making those spaces off limits to Moore would make the marina property unusable.Under our current ordinances, nobody can do anything with that property ever, Colburn said.Also calling the city's rule unrealistic was Councilmember Dione Murray. She said many of the businesses in downtown Langley rely solely on parking spaces in the city's right-of-way for customer and employee parking. In recent years, the city has allowed some business owners to satisfy the city's parking ordinance by allowing them to pay a fee in lieu of creating their own parking spots.City attorney Eric Lucas put the discussion in a practical light. He said it is almost impossible to negotiate details such as parking unless he and city staff have a permit application in hand that explains exactly what Moore intends to do on the marina property. Without that permit application, he said the details of the parking ordinances and other city rules are too fluid to negotiate.Mayor Furman and the council told Moore they support her effort to redevelop the marina and said they would do all they could to make certain city ordinances do not stand in the way of her project. Moore said she would write up a development plan and permit application within the next week to submit to the city.Moore is also looking to sign a 50-year lease with the city for the dock and city tidelands that have historically been used by the operators of the Langley Marina. She asked that the city not collect on this lease until she finishes reconstructing the rotting marina building and opens for business. "