By a 7-0 vote, the Decorah City Council has said "no" to Traditions Management's plans to build a 70-unit assisted living facility in the Riverwalk subdivision.
"What you're proposing does not fit this location," city council member Rachel Vagts told Traditions representatives. But Vagts encouraged the company to continue to look for a different location for the facility in Decorah.
The vote by the city council followed a public hearing that featured a lengthy presentation by Decorah attorney Karl Knudson, who has been hired by neighbors of the proposed development. Knudson spoke of negotiations between the neighbors and the previous Riverwalk developer in 2000 that resulted in an agreement on how the property would be developed.
Knudson said the layout of the existing easements was part of a plan to reduce the scope of the development on the property. In exchange, the neighbors agreed to support the developer's request for tax incremental financing status for the project, so property tax proceeds would help to pay for improvements such as streets and sewers.
Knudson stated that the neighbors have legal rights that the Riverwalk property will be developed according to the agreements in 2000.
City Attorney Rick Zahasky agreed, saying "these are a contract between the developer and the (nearby) property owners."
The argument swayed the Decorah City Council, which voted 7-0 to deny the request to vacate and replat the existing easements, then also voted 7-0 to reject the site plan for the assisted living development.