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Mayor: Overturning city board decision essential to keep lid on flood insurance rates



It’s a highly unusual move but Mayor Tim Kabat did it for a reason.

The La Crosse mayor defends taking his own city zoning board to court over a single variance granted to renovate a kitchen.

The problem, says Kabat, is that variance was granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals in the city’s floodplain, which could lead to all sorts of issues with the DNR and FEMA and flood insurance rates for the whole city.

Kabat says that decision could end goodwill with the feds and the state with any progress the city has made in getting homes out of questionable floodplain maps.

“I’m very concerned that when we start to issue variances or start to backtrack, I guess is how I see it, into allowing people to do thing in the floodplain, I think that is just not the right move,” Kabat said. “Any time we’re granting these types of things in a floodplain, I see that as a very questionable move when we’re trying to prevent problems in that floodplain area.”

Back in July, the board said yes to a request to add on to a house on the fringe of a floodplain on Cliffwood Drive.

Kabat filed a petition earlier this month to review and potentially overturn that decision.

Kabat says that one variance granted by the zoning board could also raise flood insurance rates for everyone who pays those premiums in the city.

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