On a 4-3 vote last week, the Decorah City Council scheduled a public hearing on a proposed zoning code amendment.
It would change the requirement for overturning a Planning and Zoning Commission denial of a rezoning request. Currently it takes a 6-1 vote of the Council to overturn a Commission denial. At the request of Mayor Lorraine Borowski, the Commission recently reviewed the city code and recommended a change to a 5-2 Council vote.
The Council scheduled the hearing for Monday, May 20, at 5:45 p.m. in Council chambers at Decorah City Hall.
“I think this is an unnecessary change that doesn’t need to be considered at this time,” Council member Johanna Bergan said during last week’s Council meeting. Bergan, and Council member Dan Bellrichard and Steve Luse voted against setting the hearing.

Work session
During a Council work session on the issue last month, Bergan said the proposed change is a “fix of a non-problem.”
Borowski said it’s a matter of economic development. She said she wants it addressed “not only for what happened in the past,” but for what could be considered a “road block” for future economic growth in the city.
Borowski has stated previously the six-vote requirement came to light following the Commission’s denial of 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 thought the six-vote threshold is “too stringent.”
At last month’s work session, Bergan said she does not believe it’s been shown that the zoning language has been a roadblock for the city.
Council member Kirk Johnson commented during the work session that the 6-1 requirement is “unacceptable” because that gives “too much power to one or two individuals (on the Council).”