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Developers, thrift store ask for easements

A South Whidbey school bus turns into the parking lot at the middle school. A Colorado home design firm wants the South Whidbey School District to move the bus entrance.  - Gayle Saran
A South Whidbey school bus turns into the parking lot at the middle school. A Colorado home design firm wants the South Whidbey School District to move the bus entrance.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

The South Whidbey School District is considering two requests for easements on school properties in Bayview and Langley. One would assist an established South Whidbey food bank and thrift store expand its operations, while the other would allow access to condominiums being planned in Langley by a Colorado development company.

Langley-based thrift store Good Cheer is proposing to build a new food bank and donation collection center on a 1-acre site next to Bayview School. During Monday night’s meeting, Good Cheer board members asked the district’s OK for a shared driveway with the school.

Maury Hood, a Good Cheer board member, told the school board Monday that the ideal solution would be to build a driveway that lines up with Marshview Road. If the easement is approved by the school board, the driveway into the Bayview School parking lot would be moved into this alignment, creating a four-way stop on Bayview Road.

A recent survey of the proposed Good Cheer site showed that only 2 feet of the existing driveway into Bayview School is located on school property. The remainder in on the property Good Cheer is purchasing.

At Monday’s meeting, schools Superintendent Bob Brown asked whether a four-trunked maple tree in front of Bayview School would have to be cut to make room for the driveway. Hood assured Brown and members of the board the tree would be fine, as it is 13 feet from the edge of the proposed entrance drive. But a stand evergreens on the other side of the driveway would probably be removed.

Several school board members said they want to visit the site before making a decision on the matter.

Also this week, Colorado development firm asked the school district to grant a joint easement from its parking lot behind Langley Middle School onto Sixth Street. The entrance to the parking lot is actually on Camano Avenue, just before the three-way stop that connects it with Sixth Street and Cascade Avenue.

The firm, Concinnity Design Group, or CDG, is proposing to construct cottages on a vacant, 1-acre site between school property and other residential property. The project, dubbed Langley Garden Bungalows, would build 10 small homes, to be developed under the city of Langley’s cottage code.

Brian Stowell, a partner in CDG during a recent telephone interview, his company wants to establish a four-way stop coming out to the school parking lot. School buses would use the new egress and ingress.

Stowell said his firm will complete a survey of the proposed building site sometime this month. He also expects his firm will be involved in traffic studies of the intersection. He also told school board members the current intersection creates congestion and is hazardous, and a four-way stop would improve traffic safety.

The company’s plan would also call for the demolition of the old bus garage on the eastern edge of the school parking lot.

Stowell said he expects that the school district would have to pay for some of the work if the project is undertaken. Superintendent Brown said the district does not have the money to share expenses with the development company.

Langley City Administrator Walt Blackford said this week the city has not received a formal development proposal from CDG.

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