Langley annexes 88 acres

Clearing up Oak Harbor’s misperceptions about some of Langley’s recent decisions was a subject of discussion Wednesday at the Langley City Council meeting.

Council members did this in part through action, expanding city limits by almost 20 percent by annexing 88 acres along Al Anderson Avenue to the city. The council was criticized by the Oak Harbor City Council last week for its reluctance to allow another annexation on Coles Road.

In an interview this week, Al Anderson Avenue resident Linda Anderson was pleased to hear her five acres of land will become part of Langley. Anderson lives across the street from where she grew up. Her mother, Mildred Anderson, still lives in the house where Linda was raised.

Still, Anderson said she didn’t feel any different about her place in the community.

“I’ve always felt part of the city anyway, so it doesn’t make a difference,” she said.

Anderson said she does not plan to develop her land for housing anytime soon. Whether Anderson’s neighbors will decide to develop their property is up to them.

Related to the annexation was a discussion that followed criticism from Oak Harbor that characterized Langley as not doing its part to absorb some of the growth on the island, and for failing to contribute enough hotel-motel tax money to an island-wide tourism promotion campaign.

Furman began the discussion by explaining how the city spends its 4-percent lodging tax. One percent is allotted to support the Langley South Whidbey Chamber of Commerce, 1 percent for maintenance and upkeep of Langley’s public restroom and 1 percent is split between promoting the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and maintenance of the Langley Park. The last 1-percent goes towards the marketing campaign. Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Island County all contribute 2 percent.

“We only had 1 percent to offer,” Furman said.

Councilman Ray Honerlah said the tourism campaign is off to a great start, and hoped the Oak Harbor city council could understand Langley’s decision to support the items already decided upon before the lodging tax was established.

Councilman Doug Allderdice said he sees Oak Harbor dropping their contribution to 1 percent as well, something city officials had mentioned doing at their meeting Oct. 7.

Council member Neil Colburn said rather than using the media as an outlet — the council’s objections appeared in an article published in the Whidbey News-Times and The South Whidbey Record — the council should either prepare a letter or send representatives to an Oak Harbor council meeting to formally explain Langley’s recent decisions.

The annexation issues and the lodging tax decision are issues that should be explained from Langley’s position, Colburn said.

“The issues are separate but the emotions are combined,” he said. He suggested two or more representatives “humbly go up” and tell the Oak Harbor city council “we only had 1 percent to give.”

Colburn and Allderdice both said in the letter or meeting it should be acknowledged Oak Harbor should do what is best for that city.

Furman said he thought Colburn’s idea to formally communicate with the Oak Harbor was a good one.

“That problem’s been brewing for over a year,” he said.

Jennifer Conway / staff photo

Linda Anderson, a resident of Al Anderson Avenue in Langley, stands in front of the house she grew up in on the same street. Her 88-year-old mother, Mildred Anderson, still lives in the home. The Anderson’s property is part of an 88-acre annexation approved by the Langley City Council this week.

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