Langley may partially lift moratorium in December

LANGLEY — City council members may be in favor of partially lifting the city’s nearly 18-month long ban against subdividing land in town.

Council members are expected to vote on an extension of the moratorium on new subdivisions in two residential zones at the council’s first meeting in December.

The current emergency moratorium expires Dec. 4. It was adopted in June 2007 for one year and extended for an additional six months in June 2008.

Larry Cort, Langley’s director of community planning, said Monday the council could remove the moratorium in two neighborhoods but leave it in place throughout the rest of the RS-7,200 and RS-15,000 zoning districts, the areas of town where medium- and low-density housing development is allowed.

The two neighborhoods — near St. Hubert Catholic Church and west of Langley Middle School — are largely built out, and new construction would be mostly in-fill development.

“Both are substantially developed,” Cort said.

New development would also fit within the character of the existing neighborhoods because regulations already on the books would guide any proposed housing projects.

Both neighborhoods have RS-7,200 zoning, which allows medium-density residential uses. The neighborhoods are between Third Street and Saratoga Road, and south of Sixth Street between Al Anderson Avenue and the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

Langley originally passed the moratorium so it could finish work related to the city’s update of its long-range growth plan.

Work continues on the city’s new development regulations and a new subdivision ordinance. Cort said he expected the update to be finished by next spring.

“We’re quite a ways along on a number of these items,” Cort told council members at their meeting Monday. “We really see ourselves wrapping up the major pieces in April.”

Councilwoman Rene Neff said lifting the moratorium in the two small neighborhoods sounded reasonable.

Councilman Bob Waterman agreed.

“I’m generally in favor of this,” Waterman said.

The council is expected to review the moratorium at its Dec. 1 meeting, and also hold a public hearing that evening.

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