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Zoning for apartments and fire station pass La Crosse committee



An apartment project that was opposed by some city council committees last month now gets a green light from one of those panels. 

The judiciary committee endorses rezoning, to build apartments on 5th Avenue on the former site of the Big Brothers Big Sisters office. 

Neighbors would prefer to have single-family houses built there, instead of low-rent apartments. 

Aaron Wickesberg represents the developer who wants to build the apartments, and he told the committee “it’s really worth noting that not every single renter is a slob, is a drug user, is an inconsiderate neighbor.”   

The zoning matter had been referred for a month, with the intent of giving the developer more time to try persuading residents in the Washburn neighborhood to support the apartment plan.

Council president Martin Gaul thinks the neighborhood is sending mixed signals about what improvements are needed there.

“These projects are just exactly what we need,” said Gaul. “We cannot advocate for affordable housing on a continual basis, and each time one of these projects presents itself, say ‘No, we can’t, we’re not gonna do that because it actually is an affordable neighborhood project so we’re not gonna do it.'” The same judiciary committee opposed a zoning change a month ago.             

Meanwhile, the plans for a new north-side fire station in La Crosse take another step forward. 

The committee has approved a zoning change and a conditional use permit, to allow construction of a new firehouse for the Gillette Street area. 

On Monday, the city plan commission had endorsed a 30-day delay on the permit, to give preservationists time to decide whether the existing 1940’s firehouse should be declared historic. 

But the council committee okayed the permit, leaving a decision on a delay up to the entire city council next week.  


A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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