Comp plan group looks at city vision

During Langley’s next town meeting on its growth plan, residents and friends of the seaside town will have a chance to discuss their vision for the city.

The comp plan group is holding the meeting from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday in the Fellowship Hall, Langley Methodist Church.

Anybody can be part in planning Langley’s future. Work is already underway to update the city’s comp plan, the document that will guide growth in the city for the next two decades.

Langley Councilman Robert Gilman said brainstorming is key and the group is open to any suggestions.

“I am somebody who thinks this is all about ideas,” he said.

The meeting will focus on the community’s vision for its future, said Gilman, who is the comp plan group chairman.

“We know from past work on the comp plan and the Imagine Langley interviews that there is broad consensus on many aspects of the vision,” he said.

For example, Langley citizens like being a small-town community in a semi-rural setting. They value downtown and want to keep it vital, and they like Langley being pedestrian friendly.

“We aren’t going to go over that common ground,” Gilman said.

“Instead we will focus on the places where community consensus is not so apparent, either because there is a diversity of views or because the issue is new. Our goal is not to necessarily ‘resolve’ these issues, but to clarify them,” he said.

The comp plan group will have posters with various “vision ideas.” Participants will take part in small group discussions on the hot issues.

After the discussion, a “sticky-dot” session will help to make sense of the findings, Gilman said.

Among the questions to consider at the meeting are:

* Should Langley be strengthening its specialization as a tourist town, or should it be diversifying its economy?

* How big should the marina grow? What scale for the marina is the best match to the rest of the community?

* Should housing of the same type be grouped into zones or should different types be mixed in neighborhoods?

* Should Langley be doing more to encourage/enable more people younger than 50 to live in Langley?

* Is it time to get serious about becoming more efficient in energy use and strengthening local energy independence?

This is an open public meeting and everyone is welcome to come and participate.

The comp plan group is off to a good start. More than 120 people attended the first town meeting in April.

So far, the group has 84 members and they are just starting to form 12 committees, Gilman said.

There are five comp plan element committees that are focusing on land use, housing, transportation, economic development, parks and open spaces.

Other committees will discuss what Langley should do with its waterfront, watersheds and bluffs, as well as tackle topics such as energy use, food and agriculture.

Also on the list are issues concerning Langley’s demographics. Another committee deals with arts, culture and education and their role in life on South Whidbey. The regional relations committee will discuss Langley’s role on the South End.

Gilman said the group is fortunate to be starting with a comp plan that already meets all state requirements.

“This gives us a good foundation to build on and means that the work of the committees can focus on those areas that we feel need improvement and that are of particular interest to us as a community,” he said.

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