Langley parks plan moves to council

After 16 months of deliberation, a 20-year parks and open-space plan will come before the Langley City Council this week.

Public hearings on the 36-page plan were wrapped up this past week on a proposed new chapter for the city’s comprehensive plan.

The city council will take up first reading of the proposal at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at city hall. A public council workshop will begin at 4 p.m.

A second reading and likely adoption will be at the council’s following meeting on Dec. 21.

The city’s parks and open space commission envisions an ambitious system of “green blobs and belts” of open space ringing the city, linked by a public trail system and a “contiguous treeline” around the city.

The city’s original goal was to preserve 25 percent of its land as parks and open space. Half of that is already in place in the form of critical areas — steep slopes, wetlands and wildlife habitats.

To reach 25 percent, the city would need to set aside about 51 additional acres of open space within the city limits, and about 130 acres within its urban growth area.

Officials are exploring ways to acquire property, including funds raised through grants, impact fees, a property-tax levy, land trades and donations.

Conservation easements and required set-asides by developers would also increase open space.

City officials hope to work with willing property owners to accomplish its open-space goals.

“I think it’s been a really good process,” assistant city planner Fred Evander said of the commission’s effort.

Copies of the plan are available at city hall or on the city’s Web site at Call 221-4246 for information.

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