A Langley council member has changed her tune about limiting the density of a proposed housing development.
At a city council meeting Monday night, Councilmember Gail Fleming made the decision to rescind her proclamation regarding the controversial Coles Valley development.
Fleming’s proclamation, which she presented at the council’s July 18 meeting, called for a decrease in units for the housing development, from 131 to 67.
Fleming emphasized that she was under the impression that the council could only regulate density before the developers submitted their PUD, or planned unit development, application for the project.
During the Aug. 1 meeting, she announced she would be honoring the request from a representative of the developers to wait for the reports and studies on the site that will be accompanying the forthcoming PUD application.
“I find it unfortunate that the proclamation seems to have resulted in a bit of polarization in our community, with some going so far as to accuse those who would like to see less units in the Coles Valley development as being against the whole project,” she said.
She added that after consulting with the city attorney, she learned that what she had proposed was “perfectly legal and neither quasi-judicial nor criminal.”
Her fellow council members were amenable to the withdrawal of the proclamation.
“I personally don’t want this proposal – which we haven’t even seen an application come in yet – to be everything we do,” Councilmember Rhonda Salerno said. “You can see from the previous work that we’ve been doing, how much there is to do for our city.”
A limited number of the public commented on the topic, likely due to the proclamation’s revocation.
Inge Morascini, the executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce, came prepared to the meeting with a letter signed by over 100 people in the community who opposed Fleming’s proclamation.
“When I spoke to people in the last couple of days, I’m hearing stories about people that lived here all their lives, and they’re saying ‘I can’t afford to live here’ or ‘I’m living with my parents and I’m 35 years old’ or ‘I’d love to move back to the island,’” she said.
Dominique Emerson, a former council member, spoke in support of building more rental units.
“When you say, ‘I’m going to put an apartment complex here,’ everybody gets in an uproar,” she said.