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Public input on proposed Menard's rezoning is unanimous--at least on Tuesday night

Posted: Tue, Sep 4, 2018 7:26 PM

Menard's proposal to build a 209,000 square foot store on property along Old Stage Road in Decorah has attracted both support and opposition.  But Tuesday night the only people to speak at a public hearing on the rezoning request were those opposed to the proposal.

A dozen people spoke at the first of two scheduled public hearings (a second hearing will be held Monday, September 17th).  Freeport resident Clara Muggli-Toyloy was among those opposing a Menard's rezoning.  "As land use changes, flooding gets worse," she told city council members.  Retired Decorah teacher Marvin Cooper agreed, adding that rainstorms are getting heavier in recent years.

One of the plaintiffs in the court case against the rezoning of land for the Walmart store, Steve Mc Cargar, told city council members they should honor the work done in preparing the city's comprehensive plan, which talks about the importance of protecting the floodplain.  "This is the key issue--it's not about Menard's," he said.

Grove Street resident Peter Van Der Linden said he is concerned about the cumulative effect of allowing development in the floodplain, telling city council members, "We can control what we do in our town."  Freeport resident Kevin Lee agreed, stating, "We cannot stop torrential rains, but we can lessen their impact."

Menard's representative Tyler Edwards told city council members locating a new Menard's store next to a Walmart store is the best outcome and is something that has been done in Platteville, Ottumwa and Spencer, for example.  In such cases, said Edwards, "we both benefit."