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City redefining nuisance properties in La Crosse



City council meeting tonight on rule changes

New property-enforcement rules in the city of La Crosse wouldn’t be directed at the average homeowner. 

Mayor Tim Kabat says the measures getting a vote by the city council tonight are meant to focus on what are known as chronic public nuisance properties – those with significant, ongoing code violations or criminal activity. 

A vast majority of homes will not apply to those measures.

“Everybody understands, ‘Something happened and I couldn’t cut my grass and it got too long,’ or, ‘I couldn’t get my sidewalk shoveled,” Kabat said. “You get a notice.  A vast majority of people, yup, they get it addressed.”

Among the changes that council members are being asked to consider would redefine what makes a chronic nuisance. 

“Now, a chronic nuisance property will be considered that after their third violation in a 12-month period,” Kabat said. “Before it was four.”

Kabat says the aim of the rule changes is to single out those properties that create the most blighted conditions in neighborhoods and establish a better process to get them cleaned up. 

“Folks should not be worried that somehow, ‘Now I’m going to be on a list of chronic nuisance properties,'” Kabat said. “We know, after you deal with this for so long, the properties that cause the significant problem.”

Among other changes, the rules would lower the allowable height of weeds around a property from 10 to eight inches. Property owners would also get charged from the city to make sure problems get fixed.

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