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Anderson up for annexation

Staff reporter

An annexation that could add approximately 88 acres to the 480-acre city of Langley was supported Wednesday by the Langley City Council.

Five councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the first reading of an ordinance that would annex 88 acres of land along Al Anderson Avenue to the city. After the second reading — scheduled for Oct. 15 — the council will either adopt or vote down the ordinance.

The acreage is owned by about a dozen people and is located within the city’s urban growth area, or UGA. It is designated in Island County’s comprehensive plan as one of several areas outside the city limits for future development. The proposed annexation comes less than a month after the council voted to forbid a group of developers from even asking permission petition for the annexation of 40 acres of land along Coles Road.

But this time around, council members voiced support for bringing more land inside city limits.

“For a number of reasons, I favor this annexation,” said Councilman Ray Honerlah Wednesday before the vote.

Though the council chambers were not packed to overflowing this week as they were during last month’s meetings concerning the other annexation issue, the Al Anderson issue did bring out a few people with concerns.

Langley resident David Whyte gave what he described as a “heartfelt plea” for the council to postpone the decision until the first of the year. He said if the first step of the annexation was approved, it would “create a lot of disappointment.”

Whyte, who owns a home at the corner of Al Anderson and Sixth Street, said he is equally concerned about the Al Anderson annexation as he was about the Coles Road proposal. He asserted that future development could increase traffic in the area.

Councilwoman Bettina Fisher, who supported the decision to move forward with the annexation process, said she has not heard any other opposition to the annexation.

“It comes to a point when you have to trust the system,” said Fisher. “At some point it’s gotta start working for us.”

Whyte responded that every city he has ever visited is getting worse in terms of traffic and overpopulation problems, and wants to keep Langley from reaching that fate.

“Everyone has a right to fight for what they believe,” he said. “We’re looking at a nightmare scenario.”

Langley resident and candidate for mayor Will Collins spoke in favor of the annexation, saying the move would be a positive step for Langley.

“I would love to welcome them as part of the city,” he said.

Linda Anderson, a property owner who lives on Al Anderson Avenue, agreed with Fisher. Anderson — whose parents are Mildred and the late Al Anderson — said in her past experience dealing with the city during the construction of the Langley Village was “not easy.”

“They are not going to let anything get by,” she said. “Don’t worry about it, get on with life.”

Langley resident Bennett White said much of the annexation anxiety stems from people who are concerned about if, how and when the land could be developed.

“There’s a great concern that, ‘Well, what... is going to happen up there?’” said White.

Langley resident Bill Humphreys said there was no doubt city residents want to welcome their neighbors into the city, but also said alternate vision is growing from citizens around the country to “improve” rather than “expand” what they have.

He said after walking into Langley recently, he observed traffic has increased tremendously in the past few years.

“What’s happening is we’re being deluged,” said Humphreys. “I just don’t think we can keep careening on the same path.”

Councilman Honerlah and Langley Mayor Lloyd Furman said they felt traffic hadn’t increased from evidence of recent traffic studies and lack of revenue generated in Langley.

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