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Proposed multi-family housing project in Decorah Business Park wins initial approval

Posted: Mon, Oct 1, 2018 6:50 PM

Four 48-unit apartment complexes in the Decorah Business Park have won a first round of approval from the Decorah City Council.

Council members gave the first of three required approvals for the rezoning of the property.  Winneshiek County Development Executive Director Stephanie Fromm said the developers of the property feel the business park is an attractive location for the project: "Toppling Goliath has been the tipping point."

"Everybody has land, everybody has buildings," Fromm told city council members, but economic development now stresses how a community is somewhere people want to live in.

But while the rezoning of the property passed unanimously, the proposed ten-year schedule of 90 percent to 70 percent reductions in property taxes for the project drew the opposition of city council members Dan Bellrichard and Randy Schissel.  "We need to be careful of taking (the developer's) first offer," said Bellrichard, who urged city officials to negotiate about financial incentives.  City council member Steve Luse said the current $40,000 tax abatement per unit for multi-family housing has not been working, so the city needs to do more.

The issues will come before the city council again at its next two meetings, since both motions require three approvals.