Annexation could grow Langley 20%

Early next year, a number of property owners living on Al Anderson Road may vote on a ballot measure that could increase Langley's size by about 20 percent.

In meetings this summer, city officials and Al Anderson residents have discussed holding an election in February, the results of which could add about 80 acres to the 480-acre city.

Jack Lynch, the planning official for the city, said property owners and city officials met in June to discuss annexing the acreage, which is owned by about a dozen people. Located within the city's urban growth area, or UGA, the land is designated in Island County's comprehensive plan as one of several areas outside the city limits for future development.

Lynch said the annexation discussion began after the city informed Al Anderson Road property owners that the city will annex the Langley Woodmen Cemetery and a piece of city-owned property where Langley's water tanks are located. He said the city has offered to annex any property on the road at no cost, since it is already going through the process. The only cost of the annexation process, Lynch said, is an election among affected property owners.

Jean Steinbrecher, who owns 10 acres on Al Anderson Road with three partners, said she sees several benefits to bringing her property inside city limits. Currently, development on her land is limited to one house per every five acres, or three houses per five acres if the property has city sewer and water. In addition, any development on the land must be approved by both Island County and Langley, since the UGA operates under joint authority.

Though Steinbrecher said she is not comfortable with the word "development," she said she and her partners will probably build housing of some sort on their land. By annexing, she said, she and her neighbors will have greater control over what that housing looks like through "master planning" the area before development begins.

"We want a seat at the table," Steinbrecher said Monday.

Another benefit property owners could reap would come in the area of property taxes. At present, Langley's tax levy, at $9.22 for every $1,000 of property value, is lower than that in Island County, which charges $9.42 per $1,000.

If the land is annexed, housing in the area would likely be built at medium densities, with lots platted at either 7,200 square feet or 15,000 square feet, Lynch said.

Lynch said no election date for the annexation proposal has been set. Election is the only way for a number of property owners to annex into a city. In the past, the process was done by petition.

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