Policies and Procedures

Alcoholic Beverage Policy:

AGE: You must be 21 years of age to purchase, consume, or possess beer or liquor in the State of Iowa.

PARKS: Intoxicants are not permitted in any city playground, swimming pool, or city park.

OPEN CONTAINERS: Open containers of alcoholic beverages are not permitted on public property in the City of Decorah.

Curfew Policy:

Curfew is established for unmarried minors under the age of eighteen years in the city of Decorah.

SENIOR HIGH GROUP: All minors enrolled in grades ten through twelve in any high school, and any minor of the age fifteen through eighteen not enrolled in any school. Curfew restrictions begin at 11 PM on each weekday and 1 AM on weekends, and shall remain in effect until 5 AM of each day.

JUNIOR HIGH GROUP: All minors enrolled in grade nine and under in any school, and any minors under the age of fifteen not enrolled in any school. Curfew restrictions for the junior high group shall begin at 10 PM on each weekday and at twelve midnight on weekends, and shall remain in effect until 5 AM of each day.

Note: During the summer months, each minor shall be considered to be in the group applicable from the preceding school year until actual attendance in the next grade.

Bicycle Policy:

The City of Decorah has much to offer the cycling enthusiast; from paved trails to challenging off road trails. Please visit the City of Decorah website so that you can take full advantage of all that we have to offer. Decorah also has specific laws pertaining to cyclists. Those laws are in place for the safety of all. We ask that you follow the laws and remain courteous to others. No riding bicycles on the sidewalk in the commercial district (the downtown area). Decorah residents shall have their bikes registered and licensed (available at the Police Dept. for $2.00. The license is non-expiring). When riding on the sidewalk outside of the commercial district; yield the right of way to pedestrians.

To view the downloadable brochure, click here.

Pet Policy:

RUNNING AT LARGE: It is a misdemeanor to allow dogs, cats, or similar domestic animals to run at large within the city.

BOTHERSOME ANIMALS: It is a misdemeanor to keep within the city such bothersome animals such as barking dogs, which tend to disrupt the peace and good order of the community.

IMMUNIZATION: All dogs six months of age or older shall be vaccinated against rabies. A tag showing evidence of proper vaccination shall be worn by any dog when not confined.

DOG AND CAT WASTE: Any person who shall walk a dog or cat on public or private property shall provide for the disposal of the solid waste material excreted by the dog or cat by immediate removal of the waste unless the dog or cat is on the owners' or keepers' property.

Snow Procedures:


It is the responsibility of property owners to promptly remove snow and ice accumulation from sidewalks abutting their property. Municipal code section 12.32 requires prompt removal and section 8.04 allows the city to remove snow and ice in order to eliminate any such nuisances. Costs for such removal will be assessed to the property owner including a $50.00 service charge.

Whenever the city experiences a snowfall which accumulates to a depth of one inch or more, a snow emergency shall automatically be in effect.

PARKING PROCEDURES: City ordinance requires all vehicles to park on the EVEN NUMBERED side of the street until snow is cleared from the opposite side. Then move to the ODD NUMBERED side of the street until the snow is cleared from the remaining half. When both sides have been plowed, normal parking resumes.

This procedure takes the place of ALL posted parking restrictions. Vehicles interfering with snow removal procedures can be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense.

In order to aid snow removal vehicle owners are reminded that no street may be used for storage purposes. Municipal code section 10.52 requires that no vehicle may be parked for a period of time longer than forty-eight hours on city streets. Violations are subject to ticketing and possible impoundment.

Severe Storm Procedures:

In the event of severe weather the Decorah Police Department is notified by the National Weather Service in LaCrosse as storms are tracked by radar. The Decorah Communication Center then notifies all city and county officers and area fire departments if storm spotters are needed.

A storm warning is issued when the National Weather Service feels that severe weather has developed and extensive property damage or loss of life could be the result of the storm, or if spotters confirm strong winds, cloud rotation, or large diameter hail.

In the case of imminent potentially damaging weather, the outdoor weather sirens are activated. General criteria for siren activation are:

  • Issuance of a tornado warning, or activity, reported by trained spotters for a specified area.
  • 70 mph or greater winds.
  • Golf ball sized hail, or larger.

Warning sirens are located in incorporated communities, as well as Freeport and Frankville.

The outdoor sirens are intended to warn people outdoors. The siren's warning signal is a solid blast of three to five minutes. This warning signal means individuals should seek shelter, moving to a place of safety. Persons should tune to media sources such as weather radios, local radio stations, area TV stations or the Internet for further information as to the duration of the warning and to determine when it is safe to resume normal activities.

There will be no "all clear" signal from the outdoor warning system. Citizens are expected to be indoors and monitoring local media for additional information. If a second siren is heard, it is an indicator of further severe weather in the area.

Please do not dial 911 for weather information. If residents wish more information on severe weather warnings and alerts, or about the Winneshiek County National Weather Service radio operating on 162.525 MHz, they may contact the National Weather Service LaCrosse office at (608) 784-8275 or the Winneshiek County Emergency Management office at (563) 387-4095.