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La Crosse zoning board waits for attorney that city can’t provide

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A zoning issue in La Crosse that seems much more compelling in the face of this week’s flooding might take awhile to hammer out.

The city of La Crosse is taking its own Board of Zoning Appeals to court over a variance granted for construction in a south side floodplain area.

It’s the kind of thing city attorney Stephen Matty told WIZM that could potentially lead to the inability of property owners in the city to buy flood insurance.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop that from happening,” Matty said.

So, there’s plenty at stake, since there’s an estimated 2,000 floodplain properties on the north and south sides.

A potential stumbling point in the legal action has already popped up, possibly giving the city a leg up on the legal action.

Since the legal department is representing Mayor Tim Kabat in the dispute, it can’t represent the zoning board. But, the board has no budget and can’t get its own attorney right now.

That means it will have to wait for a special appropriation from the city council to hire an attorney so, essentially, the city can defend against its own legal action.

One representative of the board would not comment on the dilemma but was surprised to hear members would have to find their own lawyer.

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