Chapter 18.16


18.16.010    Land uses.

18.16.020    Repealed.

18.16.030    Repealed.

18.16.040    Minimum lot size.

18.16.050    Maximum density.

18.16.060    Maximum lot coverage.

18.16.070    Maximum height.

18.16.075    Height modification.

18.16.080    Setbacks.

18.16.085    Repealed.

18.16.090    Repealed.

18.16.095    Building width.

18.16.100    Requirement to connect to city water and sewer systems.

18.16.110    Maintenance and demolition of historic structures.

18.16.010 Land uses.

The table in Section 18.09.010 identifies the allowed land uses in the CB district. Multifamily dwelling units are permitted in principal buildings as a secondary use; provided, that commercial uses shall occupy the first and/or street level of the building. (Ord. 1004 § 4 (Exh. E), 2014; Ord. 733, 1997; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.020 Secondary uses.

Repealed by Ord. 1004. (Ord. 989 § 3, 2013; Ord. 754, 1997; Ord. 703, 1995; Ord. 687, 1994; Ord. 612, 1992; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.030 Conditional uses.

Repealed by Ord. 1004. (Ord. 754, 1997; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.040 Minimum lot size.

There is no minimum lot size in the CB zone. (Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.050 Maximum density.

There is no density limit in the CB zone for residential development located above commercial; provided, that any land area containing wetlands and/or streams shall be deducted before calculating the development density for the property. (Ord. 696, 1995; Ord. 623B, 1992; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.060 Maximum lot coverage.

There is no limit for maximum lot coverage in the CB zone, except as required per Section 18.16.080. (Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.070 Maximum height.

A. The maximum height in the CB zone is 30 feet; provided, that the height may be built to 35 feet with a pitched roof if the lowest part of the pitch begins no higher than 30 feet; provided further, that the height limit on the north side of First Street shall be 25 feet with the height measured from the center of the side(s) of the building fronting on First Street extended to the centerline of the First Street right-of-way; provided further, that on steeply sloping lots fronting on First Street, development shall step down the bluff and thereby better fit with the site terrain and be more compatible with the adjacent Seawall Park. A minimum setback of five feet per floor is required, but up to two steps may be combined in a single setback. A larger setback at the ground level may satisfy part of the required upper level setbacks.

B. The city’s design review process will determine consistency with these requirements for each development application.

C. The building height governing the two blocks between Second and Fourth Streets on Cascade Avenue shall be 25 feet. In this area height will be measured from the center point of the side(s) of the building fronting Cascade Avenue extended to the centerline of the Cascade Avenue right-of-way. If the building is set back significantly down-slope (i.e., to the west) the total height may be up to 35 feet, but not to exceed the above-measured 25-foot elevation over Cascade Avenue. (Ord. 1005 § 3, 2014; Ord. 670, 1994; Ord. 650, 1993; Ord. 646, 1993; Ord. 566, 1990; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.075 Height modification.

A. Consistent with the requirements below, the planning official is authorized to grant an administrative height modification for all CB zoned properties located within the boundary of the Wharf Street overlay zone established under Chapter 18.11.

B. Height Modification. The height of a commercial or mixed use building may be increased above the standard of the Wharf Street overlay zone if the project includes one or more of the following project augmentations:

1. Open air public or semi-public space; or

2. Upper story building setbacks; or

3. Indoor public space.

C. Building height: 47 feet or four stories, whichever is less.

D. Setbacks. Above 35 feet there shall be a minimum front yard setback of 10 feet from the building foundation. The reduction in floor area in lower stories that results from the listed project augmentations may be added to the fourth story subject to the minimum fourth floor setback stated above. Table 1 and Figure 1 illustrate how the square footage of a building may be added to a fourth floor.


Table 1:



Base Square Footage

Number of Floors Above

Square Footage Augmentation


Public Space



















E. The following graphic is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to portray an actual or desired building design. The graphic relates to Table 1 in subsection (D) of this section.

Figure 1. This graphic relates to Table 1 above as an illustration of the intent of the height modification provisions.

F. Consistent with RCW 90.58.320 of the Shoreline Management Act, a height modification granted under these provisions shall not be granted for any new or expanded building or structure that will obstruct the view of a substantial number of residences on areas adjoining such shorelines. (Ord. 963 § 2, 2011)

18.16.080 Setbacks.

Setbacks in the CB zone are:

A. Street: none;

B. Side yard: none except when abutting a residential zone, which shall then be five feet;

C. Rear yard: none except when abutting a residential zone, which shall then be 25 feet;

D. Where a lot abuts an alley, the setback shall be 10 feet from the center of the alleyway, and in no case shall a structure be erected closer than two feet to the alley right-of-way;

E. All parts of the structure or building including, without limitation, cornices, eaves, canopies, sun shades, gutters, chimneys and flues shall be considered in calculating the location of the structure or building in determining compliance with the setback requirements of this section. (Ord. 569, 1990; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.085 Commercial uses on property adjacent to a single-family residential zoning district.

Repealed by Ord. 989. (Ord. 771, 1999; Ord. 696, 1995)

18.16.090 Binding site plan.

Repealed by Ord. 1004. (Ord. 565, 1990; Ord. 527, 1989)

18.16.095 Building width.

On First Street between Second Street and Anthes Avenue buildings shall be designed to be consistent with the original 30-foot lots in the original Plat of Langley. For buildings wider than 30 feet, design elements including building setbacks and modulation, facade materials, window and door placements or other design elements shall be incorporated to maintain consistency with the scale and character of the streetscape and to cause the building to appear as if it consisted of multiple approximately 30-foot-wide attached structures. (Ord. 1005 § 3, 2014)

18.16.100 Requirement to connect to city water and sewer systems.

All development in this zone is required to be served by the city’s public water and sewer systems. See Title 13 for connection requirements. (Ord. 820, 2002; Ord. 696, 1995)

18.16.110 Maintenance and demolition of historic structures.

A. Purpose. The city desires to preserve the most important historic and cultural resources in the community through proper maintenance and prohibiting demolition unless specific criteria are satisfied. Demolition shall only be authorized when it has been determined that preservation is not feasible based on: the consideration of the structural integrity of the structure; an economic hardship upon the owner that would result from its continued existence; or community benefits associated with a redevelopment plan. When demolition is the only viable option reconstruction of a replica structure should be considered. The city may require the provision of independent professional assistance at the applicant’s expense in evaluating an application for demolition to determine compliance with the standards of this section.

B. Applicability. The standards and review process for demolishing a historic building shall apply to any structure that is listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places or the Washington Heritage Register. The city may require an analysis by an independent qualified historic preservation consultant to be paid for by the applicant for any structure that is at least 50 years old to determine eligibility for the historic registers and the applicability of the standards herein.

C. Maintenance. All structures listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places or the Washington Heritage Register shall be adequately maintained and the lack of proper maintenance shall not be justification for approval of the demolition of a historic structure through demolition by neglect. The city building official may inspect properties periodically and as necessary to determine compliance with this maintenance obligation. The property owner shall be promptly notified of any noncompliance issues and given up to 30 days to correct the deficiency or fines in accordance with Chapter 1.14 may be levied. Maintenance of historic structures shall be consistent with the following:

1. Facades, which may fall and injure members of the public or property.

2. Deteriorated or inadequate foundation, defective or deteriorated flooring or floor supports, deteriorated walls or other vertical structural supports.

3. Members of ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports or other horizontal members, which sag, split or buckle due to defective material or deterioration.

4. Deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs, foundations or floors, including broken windows or doors.

5. Defective or insufficient weather protection for exterior wall covering, including defective or missing siding, lack of paint or weathering due to lack of paint or other protective covering.

6. Any other fault or defect in the building which renders it not properly watertight or structurally unsafe.

D. Application for Demolition. An application for demolition shall be submitted to the Historic Preservation Commission for review at a public hearing and recommendation to the city council. Following a closed record hearing the city council shall make the final decision on an application for demolition of a historic structure as defined herein. Decisions may be appealed to the hearing examiner within 10 days of the decisions. The application shall contain the following:

1. A report from a licensed engineer qualified to assess the structural integrity of historic buildings. The report shall address the ability for rehabilitation and reuse of the existing building as it pertains to the building’s structural integrity.

2. An engineering report and cost estimate that addresses the financial implications for restoration versus reconstruction.

3. A statement from the applicant regarding compliance with the standards for demolition of a historic structure.

4. For sites not listed currently listed on a historic register, a report from qualified historic preservation consultant documenting the structure’s eligibility for a historic register.

5. For applications requesting approval based on the community benefit standard, below, a plan for redevelopment of the site.

6. For applications based on the economic hardship or structural integrity standards, any approval shall be conditioned on receiving all appropriate permits for redevelopment of the site. The structure shall not be demolished until a redevelopment plan has been approved unless the structure presents an imminent safety hazard as determined by the city building official.

7. If the application materials conclude that it would not be feasible to maintain the entire building, the materials shall also discuss whether it would be feasible to maintain the facade and any other historically significant portion of the building as part of a redevelopment.

E. Demolition Review Standards.

1. Economic Hardship. The continued operation of the historic structure is financially infeasible based on existing and reasonably assumed likely future land uses. All options for adaptive reuse, expansion, resale, or relocation shall be considered and addressed in the application. The failure of the property owner(s) to maintain the building or individual personal/business financial conditions shall not be a valid justification for an economic hardship.

2. Structural Integrity. The structure is beyond repair and the cost of repairing and operating the building is not financially feasible or reasonable. An assessment of the allowances under the Washington State Historic Building Code shall be provided prior to any approval under this criteria; or

3. Community Benefit. The redevelopment plan for the site has significant state, regional or community benefits in terms of urban design, ecology, and cultural or economic benefits. The redevelopment proposal shall consider and address impacts on adjacent historic properties and the entire district. The potential of incorporating historic structures into redevelopment plans shall be considered and is encouraged. At a minimum a project must implement a project on the city’s capital improvement program to obtain approval for demolition based on the community benefit criteria.

4. Reconstruction. The applicant shall consider reconstruction of all or part of the historic building if restoration is not determined to be feasible. The plan for reconstruction shall retain the most integral historic features of the structure. Historic structures that exceed the height limitations of Section 18.16.070 may be reconstructed to a height equal to the original structure. Demolition may not occur until a plan for reconstruction has been approved.

F. Approval for Demolition. Historic buildings that are approved for demolition require the applicant to comply with the following:

1. Any approval for the demolition of a historic structure shall require the applicant to document the building in accordance with the Historic American Building Survey (HABS).

2. Assurance from the applicant that the redevelopment plan as approved will be implemented if the historic structure demolition is approved based on the community benefit of the redevelopment plan. In addition, structures approved for demolition based on the community benefit standard shall not be demolished until the entire redevelopment project has received all regulatory permits. The city shall require a performance bond or letter of credit as a condition of approval for the demolition of a historic structure.

3. Review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) may be required.

4. The time between demolition and the commencement of construction shall not exceed one month unless an alternative timeline is specifically approved as part of the demolition approval from the city. (Ord. 1005 § 3, 2014)