The Decorah City Council voted again 4-3 to approve a proposed change in the procedure for rezoning property.
It was the second reading of the ordinance amending the city’s zoning code. Council members Randy Schissel, Kirk Johnson, Andy Carlson and Ross Hadley voted in favor of the change while Johanna Bergan, Steve Luse and Dan Bellrichard voted against it. Schissel made a motion to waive the third required reading which died for the lack of a second.
The third reading is scheduled for the Council’s Monday, June 17 meeting. Three readings are required before an ordinance can be considered for adoption.
The change would make it easier to overturn a Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission denial of a rezoning request. It currently takes six votes of the seven-member Council to reverse a Commission recommendation denying rezoning. The proposed change would require only five votes to overturn the Commission.
Mayor Lorraine Borowski said she learned of the six-vote requirement after the Commission denied Menards’ request to rezone floodplain property near Walmart on the east edge of Decorah for a new store.
Menards wanted to rezone about 17 acres of floodplain to C-4 shopping center commercial for a 209,500-square-foot store. Menards withdrew its proposal in October before the rezoning request came before the Council for a vote. Borowski said she heard from several constituents who said the requirement for overturning a Commission recommendation is too “stringent.”