Meeting to address changes to Langley zoning

The meeting will take place 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20 via Zoom.

Langley residents will have the chance to weigh in on proposed changes to Langley’s zoning code.

The changes would create an amendment to allow more inclusive housing types to be built on two areas currently zoned as “Residential Single Family” and one area zoned as “Residential Mixed,” explained Brigid Reynolds, the city’s director of community planning.

The Residential Mixed zone is mostly developed, but she pointed out there is potential for the two other zones — RS5000 and RS7200 — to be developed, which are located to the west and the south of downtown Langley.

The Department of Commerce awarded Langley a grant totaling $40,000 last May to encourage increased residential building capacity.

A law passed in 2019 incentivizes such infill, especially in areas served by existing infrastructure.

Working with form-based code — which focuses less on density and land use and more on the style of building structure — the city prepared a draft for the public to comment on at an upcoming online community meeting Jan. 20.

Reynolds explained that the type of housing envisioned for the code includes multi-family dwellings, such as triplexes and fourplexes.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage sensitive infill of units that would look similar to the surrounding single-family homes,” she said, adding that multi-family units are more sustainable because multiple people are living on a smaller footprint.

Also, if developed in areas where sewer and water infrastructure already exists, then that is a more efficient use of that infrastructure.

Reynolds said the city’s Planning Advisory Board has been discussing things that can be done to reduce barriers to construction of more units and to create opportunities for housing.

“It’s certainly not the silver bullet in addressing affordable housing by any means, but it’s trying to create some opportunities to create new homes,” she said.

Over the years, there have been several amendments to Langley’s zoning code, including allowances for accessory dwelling units, tiny homes and short-term rentals.

The form-based code draft is available to view on the city’s website, langleywa.org

At the upcoming community meeting, the city and the consultant for the project, PlaceMakers, will use feedback from citizens to revise the current draft of the multi-family form-based code overlay.

Reynolds said the goal is to be able to present a finalized version of the draft for the city council’s approval in March.

The community meeting will take place 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20.

To join the Zoom meeting, enter the ID# 964 0193 4525 and passcode 766636, or if by phone, dial 1-253-215-8782 or 9-640-193-4525 and enter passcode 766636.

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