Public Hearing: Planning Advisory Board – November 14, 2011

The Planning Advisory Board (PAB) will be holding a public hearing on November 14, 2011 at 3pm in City Hall to discuss several amendments to the zoning and development regulations.

Development regulations often work in two distinct and fundamental ways.  At their best, development regulations guide development and design to suit the goals and desires of the community.  Effective development regulations may incentivize or require such things as green design, pedestrian oriented development, infill development and quality urban design.  At their worst, development regulations can actually prohibit the type of development that a community may desire.  Often developed long ago during a different time period based on a false set of assumptions many zoning and development ordinances today actually restrict the type of development that may define the character of the community.  Strict on-site parking requirements for example would prohibit the type of development along First Street or require high fees for off-site parking that may not be financially feasible for the property owner.  Langley’s existing development regulations are widely agreed to be outdated and in many cases regressive.  A larger scale effort to rewrite the code to fully implement the comprehensive plan is forthcoming, but due to other planning priorities will not likely occur for at least a year.  In the meantime the following amendments are intended to be a small step towards implementing many of the goals of the comprehensive plan and the Growth Management Act by removing barriers to affordable housing and innovative development along with promoting energy conservation and the inclusion of public space in private development projects.  Broadly, the amendments address several important goals of the comprehensive plan including support for infill development, affordable housing, public space and green design.

The proposals include incentives for affordable housing and innovative mixed- use development, incentives for public space, charging stations for electric vehicles, greater flexibility for the development and design of detached accessory dwelling units and the protection of trees during construction.  See below for details on each proposal and links to the proposed amendments.  To comment use the form at the end of this post.

Affordable Housing

In order to promote affordable housing the ordinance, through a community based process, allows for flexibility in the development regulations in exchange for public benefits such as perpetually affordable affordable housing, public space and energy efficiency.  These demonstration projects will likely inform a future rewrite of the city’s development regulations.  To review the proposal click here:   Affordable Housing Proposal

Mixed-Use Development

Applicable in the Central Business District the proposal allows flexibility in the development regulations to allow for innovative mixed use projects that incorporate housing, commercial, public space and green design.  The ordinance is a pilot program and expires after two years, but may be extended.  To review the proposal click here:  Mixed-Use Housing

Wharf Street Overlay Height Modification

Another proposed amendment allows for building height modificatiosn in the Wharf Street Overly District.  Under the proposal a partial fourth story may be allowed in exchange for indoor and outdoor public and semi-public space.  To review the proposal click here:  Wharf Street Overlay Height Modification

Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units are small residential units associated with a detached single family residence.  The revisions to the standards for ADU’s allows for increased flexibility on the height of detached ADU’s up to 22′ and the maximum size of ADU’s is increased from 800′ to 1000′ gross square feet.  To review the proposal click here:  Accessory Dwelling Unit Standards

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

State law requires the city to allow battery charging stations or electric vehicle charging stations in most of the zoning districts.  The new ordinance will allow electric vehicle charging stations in most of the city’s zoning districts.  The law is intended to promote the use of electric vehicles to reduce fossil fuel use.  To review the proposal click here:  Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Tree Protection During Construction

For certain development projects where trees are being retained a plan to protect the trees during construction is a required part of the permit application and approval.  To review the proposal click here:  Tree Protection During Construction

Use the form below to provide comments on the above proposals: