In February of 2012, the Decorah City Council approved an updated Comprehensive Plan for the entire community, a plan which included recommendations on future land use.
The purpose of that plan was to guide future developments in Decorah, to figure out where future residential development should go, future industrial development and future commercial development.
At the time the Comprehensive Plan was passed, city council members couldn't foresee that one day Menard's would apply for a zoning change so it could build a 209,500 square foot store on property off Old Stage Road. But the plan did foresee property along Old Stage Road being used for "highway commercial" development.
On the other hand, the future land use map which was developed in 2012 was a fairly small map and did not show individual parcels of property, such as the Beacon software maps do. Only some of the property right next to Old Stage Road was shown as "highway commercial" development, with the property further from the road just left blank. Additionally, a floodplain map from the same Comprehensive Plan shows the entire area as floodplain.
So the 2012 Comprehensive Plan could offer guidance to members of the city's Planning & Zoning Commission as they consider Menard's request to rezone property, but it won't be an open-and-shut case. Commission members will have to use the Comprehensive Plan as a guideline, but will have to recognize that it won't answer all their questions.