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'No Parking' for marina in Langley?

The city of Langley and developer Linda Moore have issues -- parking issues.

Moore is hoping it's something a little counseling can cure.

Parking was the main subject when Moore addressed members of the Island County Marine Resources Committee in Freeland April 16. The MRC had Moore speak to give them an update them on her plans to renovate the Langley Marina building.

She told the group one of the first issues to resolve is parking. At issue are nine spaces in front of the marina building which Moore has leased from the city for 50 years. She wants those spaces to count toward her 18-space parking requirement at the proposed development.

But, she said, a city ordinance earmarks those spaces for public use, not for private business, as the resurrected Langley Marina will be.

Moore told the MRC her proposed redevelopment of the building is intended to create an indoor and outdoor space for public use. Renovation plans include waterfront-related retail and boater gasoline service.

Without those parking spaces, Moore could be forced to build a structure with parking garage on the first floor, similar to the Silver Cloud Inn at the Mukilteo ferry dock.

"No one wants to see that type of development at the end of Wharf Street in Langley," she said. "That kind of design would destroy the soul of the building."

Moore's vision for the marina is to maintain its historical flavor. That won't happen if she builds a parking garage.

"If I have to do parking on the first floor, people driving down Wharf Street will see the butt ends of cars instead of Saratoga Passage."

Dealing with the city on parking is one of the first items she has addressed, and she's been at it for almost two years in various discussions with and presentations before city officials. City policy requires business owners to pay fees in lieu of parking spaces. The ordinance came about when businesses began cropping up on First Street without their own parking spaces.

Downtown businesses without parking are required to pay fees in lieu of providing parking spaces. However, Moore's property does not qualify for the fee-in-lieu program. She must have a total of 18 spaces for her building.

Though the leased spaces are in question at the moment, Moore said she is optimistic.

"The city has always been very supportive of the marina project. They are just trying to steer through the confusing legal issues of its ordinance."

Even if she can use the leased spaces, Moore must find nine others elsewhere. Her idea when she purchased the building was to buy or rent parking spaces up the hill from the Langley Marina building.

Here the city policy and state environmental regulations are in conflict. The city requires business owners to offer parking within 300 feet of their building, but state environmental laws want parking away from shoreline.

When the structure was owned and operated by Barney Hein, parking was provided on land he owned nearby.

Another issue Moore is dealing with is determining a bulkhead design.

When she first publicly outlined her vision for Langley Marina eight months ago, she drew one of the larger community audiences to attend a meeting of the MRC.

Moore has said the project would be driven by sensitivity to both the environment and the Langley community. She said her personal goal is to restore the marina to public use and access.

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