Port might bring money to Langley Harbor

Two heads -- or eight -- may be better than one in planning Langley's future as a seagoing town.

An interlocal agreement in the works between the city of Langley and the Port District of South Whidbey may make the Langley Small Boat Harbor a bigger, better-maintained place to moor a boat in the future.

Last Wednesday, the five-member council gave Mayor Lloyd Furman the authority to sign an agreement with the Port that will allow the Port to participate financially in improvements at the harbor.

Furman said it is a partnership long in coming.

"The Port has always been supportive of Langley and South Whidbey," said Furman. "I'm very confident."

The discussion to jointly enhance harbor facilities has been a topic of Langley and Port discussions for several years.

According to recent draft of the 10-year agreement, Langley and the Port would also jointly own and maintain facilities for the public for recreational purposes.

Furman said he wants to see more recreational facilities relating to the waterfront in Langley. However, because of the small size of the city's waterfront and rented tidelands property at the harbor, expansion will have to be carefully planned and examined before approved.

According to the agreement, the Port will be primarily a funding agency for projects, while Langley will be responsible for planning and administering improvements.

The three-member Port commission must sign off on the agreement at a future meeting for it to go into effect.

An expansion of the harbor is one improvement long talked over by the council, since demand for permanent moorage on South Whidbey is high. At last week's meeting, the council found itself considering just that sort of moorage for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is looking to rent a slip to moor one of its vessels.

The Auxiliary serves as a backup to the Coast Guard and the Island County Sheriff Department for search and rescue operations. Its members and vessels are on call 24 hours a day.

Furman said the Auxiliary operates several vessels, but would keep only one boat at a time in Langley on a rotating basis. At present, with the exception of just a few slips, the city allows only transient moorage during the summer, so the Auxiliary will have to find another spot to go during those months.

Furman said the Auxiliary will consider mooring in Clinton during the summer.

"It's a great thing they are doing," he said. "We would happy to have the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Langley. It's a good thing for the South Whidbey community and the boating community."

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