Whidbey News-Times


‘Langley Lift’ design goes up for public comment

By BEN WATANABE Whidbey News-Times Record reporter
August 30, 2014 · Updated 3:40 PM

Citizens are being asked to comment on the “Langley Lift.” / Artistic rendering provided

Renderings of a bridge and elevator give a glimpse at what Cascade Avenue in Langley may look like.

The city’s Community Planning department published the “Langley Lift” pictures showing the bridge and tower’s view impacts from Cascade Avenue.

Public comment is being accepted in writing at the planning blog designlangley.org or at Langley City Hall.

The overall assessment, which is not an official staff recommendation, is that the structure, proposed by the late Paul Schell, will not “significantly” impact the primary scenic views.

Based on renderings created by the city’s planning intern, the most drastic view change is looking north on Cascade Avenue.

Along the walkway, the once sweeping sight of Saratoga Passage and Camano Island is blocked by the bridge and elevator shaft.

In an attempt to mitigate the view loss, architect and designer Eric Richmond of Flat Rock Productions changed the bridge to have a mesh or lattice covering that will allow people to see through it.

A viewing platform was also added to the end of the bridge, which will wrap around the elevator tower with a 5-foot walkway.

“There’s the issue of public views in relation to the regulations in our shoreline master plan,” said Langley Director of Community Planning Jeff Arango.

The project being reviewed is the “Langley Lift,” as dubbed by Schell and Richmond.

Schell came up with the idea as a way to create a skyline feature for the town and a connection from the water to the commercial area.

Schell died July 27 after complications from a heart surgery.

“It was something he wanted done, and this is how I can help out,” Richmond said.

Funding for the project was approved several years ago by the Island County Council of Governments.

The grant totals $500,000, and that’s the budget for which Richmond is striving to stay within.

On July 21, Paul Schell said he would cover any costs over that amount.

Several steps remain before the city makes a move on the elevator.

Arango said he would inform the council of governments about changes to the plan, including the bridge platform, and that he would make an official recommendation to the city council within two months.

Meanwhile, Richmond and Pam Schell are waiting on feedback from residents and the city before they can get more firm cost estimates to propose to the city.

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