Chapter 17.08


17.08.010    Purpose of provisions.

17.08.020    Definitions.

17.08.030    Applicability – Exemptions.

17.08.040    Boundary line adjustments.

17.08.050    Re-divisions.

17.08.060    Withdrawals.

17.08.070    Application – Forms.

17.08.080    Application – Review – Preliminary approval.

17.08.090    Grant or disapproval conditions – Appeals.

17.08.100    Review for final approval.

17.08.110    Standards for review.

17.08.115    Evaluation criteria.

17.08.120    Dedications and reservations.

17.08.130    Procedure for dedications.

17.08.140    Recordation.

17.08.150    Enforcement.

17.08.160    Violation – Penalty.

17.08.010 Purpose of provisions.

The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the subdivision of land and to promote the public health, safety and welfare of the city and its citizens in accordance with the state platting law, the State Growth Management Act, the city/Island County interlocal agreement and the city’s comprehensive plan and development regulations to facilitate the fair and predictable division of land, maintain the current character of the city, and provide for greater flexibility in land division and establishment of lots.

It is the intent of this chapter to provide a simple and expeditious method to divide property into four or fewer lots as an alternative subdivision process. It is not intended to be used to create either directly or indirectly five or more lots or parcels of land. This chapter shall be liberally construed to accomplish these purposes. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.020 Definitions.

Where the following words and phrases appear in this chapter, they shall be given the meaning attributed to them by this section. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense shall include the future, the singular shall include the plural and the plural the singular, the word “shall” is always mandatory, and the word “may” indicates a use of discretion in making a decision.

“Aggrieved party” means the person appealing a decision of the city, who shows that he may suffer specific injury and/or that the interests claimed are those intended to be protected by this chapter.

“Assessor’s parcel” means a segregation of land established by the county assessor and assigned numbers for assessment purposes only. This segregation does not necessarily identify or establish legally divided parcels for purposes of development, sale, lease, transfer, gift, or other conveyance.

“City council” means the legislative authority of the city of Langley, Washington.

“Comprehensive plan” means the goals, objectives, policies, documents and maps adopted by the city council to guide the physical development of the city, to coordinate city programs, services and controls, to promote the general welfare, and to protect the environment of the city.

“Contiguous property” means properties adjoining with a common boundary line, including a public right-of-way. To qualify as contiguous, the common property line must measure at least 60 feet in a single direction.

“Dedication” means the deliberate conveyance of land by an owner for any general and public uses, reserving to himself no other rights than such as are compatible with the full exercise and enjoyment of the public uses to which the property has been dedicated.

“Easement” means a grant by a property owner to specific persons or to the public to use land for a specific purpose or purposes.

“Lot” means a fractional part of subdivided lands having fixed boundaries, being of sufficient area and dimension to meet minimum zoning requirements for width and area.

“One ownership” means and applies to any unit, tract or parcel of land sought to be subdivided by the owner, together with any contiguous property in which the owner held an owner’s interest.

“Owner” means any person or persons having property rights or interests, regardless of whether they may be legal or equitable in character, such as a fee owner, contract purchaser or seller, mortgagor or mortgagee, optionor or optionee, and beneficiary or grantor of a trust or deed of trust.

“Person” means individual (regardless of relationship or legal capacity), partnership, corporation, association, unincorporated organization, trust, or any other legal or commercial entity, including a joint venture or other such affiliated ownership.

“Planner” means the city official responsible for administration and interpretation of this code.

Road, Private. “Private road” means that easement or parcel created to provide the access from a public road to short-platted lots maintained by the private lot owners, and remaining in private ownership.

Road, Public. “Public road” means a road dedicated to and maintained by the state, by Island County, or by the city, and open as a matter of right to public vehicular travel and access.

“Short plat” means the map or representation of a short subdivision submitted for final approval and recording, showing thereon the division of a tract or parcel into lots, blocks, streets, or other divisions.

“Short subdivision” means the division of land into four or fewer lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions, for the purpose of development, sale, lease, transfer, gift or other conveyance.

“Subdivider” means any person having any real interest in the land being divided, and who participates in the division of land into lots, tracts or parcels. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.030 Applicability – Exemptions.

A. Every division of land for the purpose of development, sale, lease, transfer, gift or other conveyance into four or fewer lots, tracts, parcels, sites or divisions within the city shall proceed in compliance with this chapter. Contiguous property in one ownership shall constitute a single parcel in determining whether or not the division of land comprises a subdivision. Subsequent to the recording of a short plat for contiguous property, further divisions of such property shall constitute a subdivision of land into five or more lots unless otherwise exempted.

B. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

1. Any cemetery or burial plot, while used for that purpose;

2. The assignment by the Island County assessor’s office of new tax parcel numbers and no division of land is occurring;

3. Any division made by testamentary provision or the laws of descent;

4. Any division of land into lots or tracts for which a residential condominium and commercial binding site plan has been recorded in accordance with the provisions of the Langley Municipal Code;

5. A division for the purpose of lease when no residential structures other than manufactured homes are permitted to be placed upon the land and for which a binding site plan for use of the land as a manufactured home park has been approved in accordance with the provisions of this code;

6. The development, sale, lease, transfer, gift or other conveyance of legally created tracts, lots or parcels acquired by any owner as separate parcels, bearing separate tax identification numbers and having separate and distinct legal descriptions. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.040 Boundary line adjustments.

A. Applications. Any person or other legal entity seeking a boundary line adjustment must complete the city’s application forms and follow the procedure as outlined in the application. An applicant shall meet with either the city land use coordinator or the city planning officer, whomever is appropriate, before submittal of an application for city action under this title. Any party seeking to settle a boundary line dispute under the authority of RCW 58.04.007 or who is otherwise seeking to comply with RCW 58.04.007 must complete the city application in addition to, and in conjunction with, any action taken pursuant to said statute.

B. Boundary line adjustments between adjoining and touching parcels, where no lot is created, will be issued a certification of approval by the mayor upon finding by the planning officer that:

1. There is compliance with city plans, zoning, health, building, and similar regulations;

2. The adjustment will not adversely affect access easements, drain fields, wells and public utilities.

C. The approved boundary line adjustment documents shall contain the original as well as new legal descriptions and shall be effective upon being filed by the city with the county assessor and recorded with the county auditor. Said filing can also occur by the applicant at the city’s direction. A copy of the recorded boundary line adjustment shall be furnished to the city. (Ord. 795, 2001; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.050 Re-divisions.

Land within a short subdivision, the short plat of which has been approved within five years immediately preceding, shall not be further divided in any manner until a final plat thereof has been approved and filed for record pursuant to regulations concerning the subdivision into five or more lots, tracts or parcels. When the original subdivision contains less than four lots, the above prohibition shall not apply to the creation of additional lots not exceeding a total of four. (Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.060 Withdrawals.

Where there have been no sales, gifts, leases, conveyances or other transfers of ownership or interest of any lots in a short subdivision, nothing contained in this chapter shall prohibit a subdivider from completely withdrawing the entire short plat and thereafter presenting a new application. Such withdrawal shall be approved by the city and filed for record with the county auditor. (Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.070 Application – Forms.

A. Preliminary Approval. The original and six copies of the application for preliminary short subdivision approval shall be submitted to the city land use coordinator on forms prescribed by the planning agency and containing such information as required to implement this chapter.

B. Final Approval. The original and six copies of the final short plat map shall be drawn on reproducible mylar capable of reproduction, 18 inches by 24 inches in size and bearing the following information:

1. The legal description of the land contained in the short subdivision and of the contiguous parcel from which the short subdivision is to be segregated;

2. The boundary lines of the short subdivision and of the lots within it, showing the full extent of the parcel from which the short subdivision is to be segregated;

3. The length and bearing of short subdivision boundary lines;

4. The location of monuments or evidence used as ties to establish the short subdivision boundaries;

5. The location, dimensions, names and Auditor’s file numbers of all easements and/or streets within or adjoining the short plat, and the purpose thereof;

6. The location of all existing improvements and major natural topographic features within the short subdivision;

7. Dedications or owner’s consent of the short plat, signed by the owners of the property;

8. The boundaries and locations of all parcels dedicated to the public or reserved for community use;

9. The city-assigned plat number;

10. Plat approval date line;

11. Approval block with mayor and city planning official signature lines and a line for the city clerk-treasurer to attest to the signatures of the city officials; and

12. The following certificates and declarations:

a. Surveyor Certificate.

This plat correctly represents a survey made by me or under my direction in conformance with the requirements of the City of Langley and the Washington State Survey Recording Act, in the month of _____________, 20_____.

_____________signature and seal

____________ certificate number

b. Treasurer’s Certificate.

All taxes levied which have become a lien upon the lands herein described have been fully paid and discharged according to the records of my office, including taxes for the current year, 20___.


Island County Treasurer

c. Auditor’s Certificate.

Filed for record this ______day of __________20___, at _____ in Vol. _____of Short Plats, page(s) under Auditor’s file No. __________ Records of Island County, at the request of the City of Langley.

d. Acknowledgment.

State of Washington

Island County

This is to certify that on this ______ day of__________ 20_____ before me, the undersigned, a Notary Public in and for the State of Washington duly commissioned and sworn, appeared _______________to me known to be the individual(s) described in and who executed the foregoing instrument and acknowledged to me that signed and sealed the same as _______ free and voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes mentioned herein.


Notary Public in and for

the State of Washington residing at _______________________________

e. Owner’s Consent.

Know all men by these presents that the undersigned sub-divider(s) hereby certify that this short plat is made as ____________free and voluntary act and deed.

_______________ _______________

Owner’s Signature Owner’s Signature


Mortgage or Lien Holder’s Signature

f. Such documents or other information as may be required by the planning officer to demonstrate compliance with and/or satisfaction of all terms and conditions of preliminary approval;

g. All improvements required pursuant to the terms and conditions of the preliminary approval shall be completed and/or secured by financial means approved by the city for completion before final approval will be granted. If financial security is established for improvements, those improvements shall be completed before issuance of any building permits on the property that was short-platted. Where completion of required improvements has been secured by a bond or cash surety, final short plat approval is valid for one year, with one extension for a one-year period with a showing of good cause. If the improvements have not been completed at the end of the one- or two-year period, whichever applies, the final short plat approval is voided. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.080 Application – Review – Preliminary approval.

A. If the planning officer determines that the application for a short subdivision approval contains sufficient data and information to furnish a basis for review, and that all fees have been paid, the land use coordinator shall:

1. Forward copies of the application to appropriate staff and other appropriate agencies, within 10 calendar days following receipt of a copy of the application; and

2. Cause notice of the application to be sent to all adjacent property owners and notice to be posted in a conspicuous location on the subject property.

B. The planning officer shall determine that the proposed short plat subdivision does or does not conform to the comprehensive plan, shoreline management plan, and current land use and zoning requirements.

C. The city engineer shall notify the planning officer that the proposed roads, utilities, drainage facilities and other improvements do or do not conform to adopted development standards and establish the adequacy of legal descriptions and the ownership of the property proposed to be subdivided.

D. Other agencies, such as the fire department, shall provide comments on applicable considerations as requested by the planning officer. (Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.090 Grant or disapproval conditions – Appeals.

A. Within the 120 days, the planning officer shall act on the application, as follows:

1. Grant preliminary approval of the short subdivision; or

2. Disapprove the preliminary short subdivision; or

3. Grant preliminary approval of the short subdivision subject to conditions and completion of specified improvements; or

4. Return the short subdivision to the applicant.

B. The decision of the planning officer shall be based upon reports of reviewing agencies, comments received during the review period, the requirements of this chapter, and all other relevant facts and information needed to determine that the public use and interest will be served by the short subdivision.

C. The subdivider or his/her agent shall be notified in writing of the planning officer’s decision. In the case of disapproval or return of the application, specific reasons shall be given.

D. Appeals of the planning officer’s decision on an application for preliminary approval shall be filed in accordance with the procedures and requirements set forth in Section 18.36.120. In computing the 21-day appeal period, the date that the planning officer’s decision is issued shall not count for purposes of the 21-day period. If the last day of the appeal period falls on a Saturday or Sunday or designated national holiday, the last day of the 21-day period shall be deemed to be the following working day.

E. Preliminary approval of an application shall be valid for 12 months. During such period, the conditions of approval, if any, must be fulfilled and required improvements completed. Upon written request, filed within 12 months and upon good cause shown, the planning officer may grant one additional 12-month time period. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 535, 1989; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.100 Review for final approval.

A. When the applicant has prepared the materials necessary to comply with the requirements for final approval as set forth in this chapter, and the conditions as specified in the approved preliminary short subdivision, an application for final approval can be submitted to the city for processing.

B. The procedures for review of final short subdivision applications and the time limitations shall be the same as those specified in Sections 17.08.070 and 17.08.080. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.110 Standards for review.

A. The planning officer, in making a decision on the application, shall be guided by the standards provided in this chapter and shall make the following findings:

1. The preliminary short subdivision meets the requirements of and is consistent with the Langley Municipal Code and the city’s comprehensive plan.

2. The preliminary short subdivision makes adequate provision for development of the subject property in a manner consistent with the State Growth Management Act designation of the city as an urban growth area, including the clustering of lots. Lots may be reduced in size below the minimum for the zoning district as long as the total number of lots in the short plat does not exceed the number allowed by the zoning district.

3. The preliminary short subdivision makes adequate provisions for open space, drainage ways, streets and other public ways, water supply, and sanitary wastes, and pedestrian circulation in order to, among other things, assure safe walking conditions for students who walk to and from school.

4. The preliminary short subdivision or development is beneficial to the public health, safety, and welfare and is in the public interest.

5. The preliminary short subdivision or development does not lower the level of service of transportation below the minimum standards adopted within the comprehensive plan, unless improvements or strategies to raise the level of service above the minimum standards are made concurrent with the development.

For the purpose of this section, “concurrent with development” is defined as the required improvements or strategies in place at the time of occupancy or a financial commitment in place to complete the improvements or strategies within six years.

B. Survey Standards. A boundary survey, conducted by or under the supervision of a registered land surveyor, shall be made of all short plats submitted for final approval and recording. The surveyor shall certify on the short plat that it is a true and correct representation of the lands actually surveyed.

1. All surveys shall conform to standard practices and principles for land surveying.

2. All permanent monuments within the short subdivision shall be located and described.

3. All permanent monuments and markers shall be shown on the face of the short plat.

C. Improvements to Property.

1. The responsibility for providing the property improvements (water, sewage, streets, drainage, etc.) shall generally be the applicant’s. Latecomer agreements may be appropriate where other properties are benefited from the improvements.

2. Requirements for improvements to the property are established in the city’s development construction standards (Title 15). (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 699, 1999; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.115 Evaluation criteria.

In evaluating the layout of lots and open space, the following criteria will be considered by the planning officer as indicating design appropriate to the site’s natural, historic, and cultural features, and meeting the purposes of this code.

Diversity and originality in layout shall be encouraged to achieve the best possible relationship between development and conservation areas. Accordingly, the planning officer shall evaluate proposals to determine whether the proposed conceptual preliminary plat:

A. Protects and preserves all floodplains, wetlands, and steep slopes from clearing, grading, filling, or construction (except as may be approved by the city for essential infrastructure or active or passive recreation amenities) and maintains or creates an upland buffer of natural native species vegetation adjacent to wetlands and surface waters, including creeks, streams, springs, lakes and ponds (reference: Chapter 16.20).

B. Minimizes conflicts between residential and agricultural uses.

C. Protects rural roadside character and improves public safety and vehicular carrying capacity by avoiding development fronting onto existing public roads and establishes buffer zones along public roads by maintaining existing screening vegetation or by establishing a planting screen consisting of a variety of indigenous native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.

D. Minimizes impacts on large woodlands, especially those containing mature trees, significant wildlife habitat and those with highly erodible soils with slopes greater than 15 percent.

E. Minimizes impacts on scenic views and vistas as seen from public roadways.

F. Landscapes common areas, cul-de-sac islands, and both sides of new streets with native species shade trees and flowering shrubs with high wildlife conservation value.

G. Includes a pedestrian circulation system designed to assure that pedestrians can walk safely and easily on the site, between properties, public facilities, and activities or special features within the neighborhood open space system. All roadside footpaths would connect with off-road trails, which, in turn, should link with existing or potential open space on adjoining parcels, where applicable.

H. Provides open space that is reasonably contiguous. For example, fragmentation of open space should be minimized so that resource areas are not divided into numerous small parcels located in various parts of the development. Long thin strips of conservation land shall be avoided, unless the conservation feature is linear or unless such configuration is necessary to connect with other streams or trails. The open space shall generally abut existing or potential open space land on adjacent parcels, and shall be designed as part of larger contiguous and integrated greenway systems. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 699, 1995)

17.08.120 Dedications and reservations.

No short subdivision shall be approved unless adequate provision is made for such drainage ways, streets, and other general purposes as may be required to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Provisions for such uses may be made by dedicating land for public use, by reserving land for future public acquisition and development, or by conveying land or easements therein to nonprofit corporations for use by all or a limited segment of the public. All dedications and reservations shall be recited on the face of the short plat as well as incorporated in such documents as may be needed to reflect the assignment of interest. (Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.130 Procedure for dedications.

Lands shall be deeded to the public by quitclaim deed. Refusal of the city council to accept a dedication shall not be grounds for disapproval of the short plat submitted for final approval and recording by the planning official, unless the subdivider will not otherwise provide required dedication or reservation. (Ord. 957 § 14, 2011; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.140 Recordation.

Upon final approval of a short plat, the city or, at the city’s request, the applicant shall forward an original mylar and one reproducible mylar of the short plat and associated documents to the county auditor for recording. A copy of the recorded mylar and two paper copies shall be delivered to the city. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.150 Enforcement.

In the enforcement of this chapter, the city attorney may petition the superior court for injunctive relief. An assurance of discontinuance may be accepted by the city attorney of any act or practice deemed in violation of this act from any person engaging in or who had engaged in such acts or practices. Any such assurance shall be in writing, and shall be filed subject to approval of the Island County superior court. The violation of such assurance shall constitute prima facie proof of a violation of this chapter. (Ord. 834, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)

17.08.160 Violation – Penalty.

Violation of or failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty as set forth in Chapter 1.14. When violations are of a continuing nature, the penalty shall increase each day of the violation as set forth in Section 1.14.050(E). (Ord. 832, 2003; Ord. 456, 1985)