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Planning & Zoning Commission rejects petition to rezone property along Old Stage Road

Posted: Mon, Jun 10, 2019 8:16 PM

The Decorah Planning & Zoning Commission has not changed its mind about the parcel along Old Stage Road which was proposed last year as the location for a new Menards store.

In August of 2018, the Commission voted 4-3 against rezoning the land from F-1 floodplain to C-4 Shopping Center/Commercial, which would have allowed Menards to build a store there.

This time property owner Allan Dahlen, through realtor Tade Kerndt, was proposing the property be changed to C-4 zoning without any details on a business interested in the property and without a site plan proposal.  Kerndt told Commission members Monday night, "I am not working for Menards...I have never spoken to Menards."

Indeed, Kerndt said other businesses have been in contact about using the property for a slightly smaller store than the one proposed by Mendards.  Kerndt urged P&Z members to approve the zoning change of what he called "the last piece of land to be developed" along Old Stage Road.

But speakers during the public hearing rejected that idea.  Sue Otte of Decorah said simply, "nothing has changed."  Another speaker, Tim Engelsdorfer, told the Commission, "you zoned it 'floodplain' for a reason--to protect people."  Freeport resident Linda Peterson asked Commission members, "Why do we have to continue going through this?"  Peter Van der Linden predicted "you'll be happy for every acre of floodplain left as it is."

There were supporters of the zoning change, as well.  Brian Huinker and Scott Carlson cited what they saw as the economic advantages of having the property developed, with Huinker saying, "the greater economic good outweighs the negative."

But the Planning and Zoning Commission vote split along roughly the same lines as in 2018, with Stan Moellers, Tony Clarke and Ryan Delaney voting in favor of the rezoning and Joel Zook, Nathan Thompson and Barbara Massman voting against it.  Llew Jenkins, who voted against the rezoning in 2018, was absent from Monday night's meeting.

The tie vote means the rezoning request has failed.