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City committee decides to change future land use map

Posted: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 5:19 PM

The City of Decorah's Economic Development Committee is agreeing with West Side residents that high density development is not appropriate for the Riverwalk subdivision.

The property has been the subject of several zoning disputes involving plans to build an assisted living facility on the site.  City council member Rachel Vagts agreed Monday night that "high density as we're currently implementing it is not appropriate for that area."

But the key part of that phrase might be "as we're currently implementing it."  City officials agreed there is a disconnect between the city's zoning ordinances and the comprehensive plan, including the future land use map.  City council member Karen Tjossem urged the city council to either bring the zoning ordinance in line with the comprehensive plan or revise the future land use map.

City council member Randy Schissel pointed out that any zoning change of the Riverwalk property--which is now zoned R-3--would have to take effect after the property would be sold, since the existing owners would be grandfathered.

That led committee members to agree to change the future land use map to show the Riverwalk property designated for medium density development. It also led the committee to ask that the Planning & Zoning Commission in the future study possible new definitions for "high density development," perhaps even to the point of developing additional zoning categories.