Stating that they support the concept of building more affordable housing within city limits, residents accused the city of advocating on behalf of a developer and a site-specific plan, which is contrary to law.
The zoning map changes, known as Ordinance 1054, involve rezoning a lot on Third Street at the west entrance to Langley from single-family use to mixed residential. The lot, located across from St. Hubert Catholic Church, is surrounded by wetlands and a sheep farm and offers a sweeping view of mountains and pastures.
The property, purchased by Habitat for Humanity of Island County more than two years ago, would allow the nonprofit organization to build attached housing units, such as duplexes, townhouses and apartments.
After about 90 minutes of public comments and discussion, the council voted 4-1 to approve the revised ordinance at its first reading. It still requires a final vote. Council member Dominique Emerson cast the lone “no” vote.
Bob Gunn pointed out some homeowners are worried that Habitat for Humanity could decide to sell the property, which would also further its mission financially. A new property owner could build a bigger apartment complex at the site, Gunn said, once the property is zoned for attached housing units.
Gary Wray, chairman of the Habitat for Humanity of Island County board, admitted he’s had his own frustrations with making the organization’s Langley “dream” a reality because zoning changes needed to occur before any development plan is finalized.
“We haven’t been able to proceed other than to dream of the possibility and say ‘if this happens, this is what we hope to do,’” he said.