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Langley Inside and Out

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From Misconceptions and Rumors…

September 5th, 2012 at Wed, 5th, 2012 at 8:39 pm by Rene Neff

I would like to clear up a few misconceptions that seem to be swirling around in regard to the City of Langley. The first one involves Mo’s Pub. As a City Council Member and business owner in Langley, I can tell you the City of Langley is not anti-business nor do we want to shut down one of the most successful businesses in town.

Langley has constituents with different needs and desires. The City Council recently passed a temporary ordinance that is designed to clarify some of our code around FUTURE businesses that abut private residences in Langley. Our code was not very specific in that area and we wanted to add some specificity so that the tensions we have been dealing with around Mo’s Pub do not happen again.

The temporary ordinance does NOT impact Mo’s as it is today, it is totally focused on any new business that might want to start up next door to a residential district OR a current business that may want to expand or remodel in the future. This temporary ordinance DOES NOT have the intention or power to close Mo’s Pub or any other business operating in Langley today, nor can the City reduce the hours of operation now in place. We do not have the desire to impose hardships on our businesses. The ordinance is a Conditional Use ordinance designed to protect residential neighborhoods from potentially incompatible land uses in the future. This ordinance is temporary because the Planning Advisory Board is working on a permanent ordinance. The PAB’s final ordinance will NOT impact Mo’s Pub or any other business as it is today.

As a City Council Member I represent the citizens of Langley as well as the interests of businesses and we try to ensure that both constituents’ rights are protected. One of the rumors I have heard states that because  one resident complained the City is reexamining our codes. This is totally not true. There are several residents that live near Mo’s Pub and we have received complaints from many of them about disturbances they have experienced. Neighbors report their sleep is often interrupted at night, some are fighting cancer and continually get woken up throughout the evening making it difficult to heal, people hear loud talking in the street at all hours of the night as patrons walk to their cars, cars start up their engines all night till 2:00 AM, and often neighbors hear loud music late into the evening. These problems make tensions flare and distress our community. We are trying to help alleviate some of the stress that was inadvertently caused when the City issued the permit to remodel the building that is now Mo’s Pub. These problems were not anticipated and we did not have a strong code in place to protect against incompatible land uses. City officials have been meeting with residents and the owners of the Pub to try to address some of these concerns.

One concern expressed was that parking along 2nd Street posed a safety hazard. 2nd Street has no sidewalks and pedestrians must walk out into the lane of traffic because there is no shoulder since cars are parked all the way up the hill. Cars coming over the hill down 2nd often do not see pedestrians until they are on top of them. Since many residents have bedrooms facing the street, the noise from parking on the street was a huge problem. Langley has lots of parking in the downtown core very close to the Pub. Dealing with parking along 2nd seemed like an area we could tackle that could alleviate some of the stress. The City asked the residents if they would be OK with residential parking only on 2nd St. in the evening hours. The overwhelming majority of residents said yes and so the City has made that change.

Another problem has been the gravel shoulder along the North side of 2nd Street. As more cars parked there the area eroded and gravel was washing down the steep street into the catch basin clogging up the storm drain. Public Works was concerned about potential flooding. In order to prevent further erosion P W planting grass seed and put up barricades to keep cars off that area until we could get it paved. Luckily the North side of 2nd Street was paved this last week. Public Works will further secure that area, clean out the storm drain and be ready for the rainy season.

Finally, many have expressed irritation over the recent street paving and sidewalk replacement. We are a small city and although we have a terrific Public Works staff, we cannot do our own street repairs. We have to contract that work out to the County and independent contractors. Consequently we are at the mercy of their schedules. No one in the City scheduled the street repairs for Labor Day weekend. The contractor and the County had time that week to do the overlay so that’s when it got done.

Our street repairs are paid for out of our Street Fund from City taxes and grants. We have a prioritized list of needed repairs. Although you may not have noticed the degradation on the sections of Anthes and Camano, they were on our list as a #1 priority. If we do not overlay pavement that is starting to decay the problems get worse and the cost increases. By overlaying areas we extend the life of the street for many years before the street needs to be dug up for a make over.

As part of the grants to do this work, we must ensure our walkways are ADA compatible to the current standards. Also, the concrete that connects with the pavement must be poured first so that things meet up just right. That is why the street corners were torn up. The concrete contractor ran out of supplies so they were unable to finish the job before the weekend. My business is on that corner and believe me I wished it had been a different week too, but that was not something the City could control.

Langley is a small City yet we must meet all the state and federal laws and regulations, which sometimes is a heavy burden on us little towns. Please know that Langley’s City Staff do the very best job possible to make our town run smoothly but that sometimes things are not always under their control. We are so lucky to have these employees who look after this special town with an abundance of care and consideration for its citizens, businesses and visitors. Sometimes it seems like we only talk to them when we have something to complain about… Next time you see one of those hard working Public Works employees give them a shout out for taking such good care of Langley!!

Hope this information helps explain some of the things you may have heard or read about. Please do not hesitate to contact or stop on the street any of the City staff, Mayor or Council Members and ask questions. If we don’t know the answers we will find out and get back to you. We are truly here to serve the needs of everyone in our community.

Respectfully Submitted by Rene Neff

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