The first reading of rezoning property along Railroad Avenue was approved by the Decorah City Council Monday night.

The Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the property be rezoned from M-3 industrial to C-2 general commercial.

"The current and general use of the district is not compatible with the industrial zoning and the desired future use is also not compatible with the industrial zoning designation," City Manager Chad Bird explained.

He said activities such as mining, warehousing and anhydrous ammonia storage would be allowable under the current zoning. A "sizable" grain elevator was once located in the area, Mayor Don Arendt said.

"The character of the neighborhood is more conducive to a general commercial nature than an industrial one," Bird said.

The area is mostly residential housing near the Decorah Middle School. The Spectrum Network, which serves adults with disabilities, mental illness and other barriers to work and life, and the Depot Outlet thrift store are also located on Railroad Avenue. However, The Depot is moving to the former Lang's Dairy building on Montgomery Street early next year.

Council member Carolyn Corbin asked if the change in zoning would be consistent with the city's comprehensive land-use plan. Bird said it is, especially considering the type of activity that is allowed under the current zoning.

Three readings are required before a zoning change can be considered for adoption. Bird asked Council members if they would consider waiving the second and third readings of the rezoning, something the Council has done on occasion. But Council member Gary Rustad said there should be at least one more reading before the Council acts on the matter.