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Letter to the Editor: I still don't understand the City of Decorah's stands on flood issues

Posted: Tue, Sep 8, 2020 5:51 PM

(The following is a Letter to the Editor from Duane Vine of Decorah):

"The Luther College Lower Campus Flood Control Project is complete.  The result is a wall that even President Trump would be proud of.  By Luther's own admission, the dike was raised an average of 2 feet.  What they failed to mention is that one particular section was raised nearly 6 feet.  Flood waters that once backed up into areas of lower campus are now walled off and diverted to Luther's downstream neighbors.  Additionally thousands of tons of fill was added to the dike's land side.  This only becomes an issue if floodwaters breach the dike… like it did in 2008.

It appears Luther did properly in acquiring approval for the project. The two science based entities they worked with (the Iowa DNR and F.E.M.A.) approved the project. The proposal was then presented to the Board of Adjustment, where it passed unanimously.

Let's compare this process to the rejected Menard's proposal in 2018. Here too, the application looks appropriate. This time the science organizations involved were the Iowa DNR, Army Corp of Engineers, and the Iowa Flood Center. The first two approved the permit and after a comprehensive study, the Iowa Flood Center concluded that the impact would be minimal. Next the City Council held three separate hearings for public comment. The proposal then went before the Planning and Zoning Commission where they denied the project by a 4-3 vote. Menard's, recognizing the city council's opposition and seeing no chance that they would overrule the vote, pulled their offer from the table and walked out the door. With them, went over a half a million dollars in projected annual tax revenue.

The purpose of this and my previous editorial is not to berate Luther but to point out the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of the Decorah city government. Let's remember them at re-election time."