The Decorah City Council on Monday night voted 4 to 3 to approve the first reading of an ordinance allowing gardens in boulevards--enough for passage, but not enough to overturn a threatened veto by Mayor Don Arendt if the ordinance goes to the mayor's desk.
Arendt restated his opposition to the measure Monday night, calling it an unnecessary change with "no public benefit." He said boulevards should be reserved for city utilities.
A lengthy discussion followed, with six members of the public speaking in favor of the proposed ordinance, then the seven members of the city council asking questions and stating their opinions.
Council member Gary Rustad said he opposed the ordinance because it did not require setbacks from curbs or fire hydrants or intersections. Council member Rachel Vagts said she supported the ordinance despite a few misgivings because "there's a lot of passion for this change in our community."
The ordinance will again come up for a reading in two weeks. Vagts appealed to her fellow city council members to draft a new ordinance, one that at least five members of the city council could support. Otherwise, she stated, there would be no point in proceeding in the face of the promised mayoral veto.