Coles annexation earns preliminary approval

As part of the lengthy annexation process, the possibility of adding a portion of property along Coles Road into Langley city limits took another step forward Thursday night.

At a special Langley Planning Advisory Board meeting, City Planner Pete Friedman recommended the board approve the next step of annexing 40 acres to the city. He gave the assurance that even if approved by the board, the recommendation would not ensure final approval of the annexation from the Langley City Council or any future development.

“It is not a decision on the annexation,” he said. “We are recommending conditional approval of the annexation.”

Friedman explained eight elements agreed upon by the owner of the property, Gordon Iverson, it’s future possible owners, Pacific Crest Partners and the city of Langley are in the conditions of a future annexation. Some of the items agreed upon are a maximum number of 24 homes, preservation of at least 28 acres of open space, 150-foot buffers on the south property line, the construction of a non-motorized trail and parking area, innovative street designs, design guidelines for residential development, environmental assessments and a 50-foot buffer along Coles Road.

The five-member Planning Advisory Board approved the Coles Road annexation — with the conditional pre-annexation zoning conditions — which will go next in front of the Langley City Council. Friedman said the council will likely hold another public hearing in the annexation process before it is approved.

Langley resident Larry Kwarsick, who represents Pacific Crest Partners, said the agreement from the current and future owners of the property and the city is an ideal situation. By developing the property in an agreement with the city instead of the county, much of the acreage will be preserved and dedicated to the city protecting it from future development. Annexing and developing the property through the city will give residents local control of the project instead of input as it could be through Island County.

“It’s a very respectable and responsible form of development,” he said.

Over a dozen people attended the meeting, many with their own ideas or concerns for the board to address before an annexation or development takes place.

Langley resident Malcolm Ferrier asked the board to consider two lists he prepared that he hopes will give the developers some ideas how to regulate both the development of the property and architectural guidelines. A self-proclaimed “rabid environmentalist,” Ferrier said the sustainable ideas if implemented could create a lovely and healthy community desirable to live in.

Nearby Coles Road resident Dave Anderson said he is concerned about the road’s current role as a major recreation route for area pedestrians and bicyclists. He requested the city have future conversations about the traffic in the area and adding more speed control.

“There are going to be some very bad accidents,” he said.

Friedman said in preliminary discussions with the Island County public works department they agree the speed on all or part of Coles Road needs to be studied, and would support a reduction in speed.

A concern for some residents was the amount of noise created by firearms at the Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club. Inglewood Drive resident John Robby said noise from the club diminishes property values, and should also be a topic of discussion.

“That area is no longer appropriate for that type of activity,” he said.

Ferrier agreed, and said in addition to being obnoxious the frightening bursts of noise can be physiologically damaging.

“Noise is a kind of pollution,” he said. “It’s a very serious problem.”

Langley resident Terry Noel said she came to the meeting in part to express her concerns the development of the property stays true to what is planned, and said she would rather see the development happen through the city instead of Island County.

“I hope what is said actually occurs,” she said.

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