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Apartments, or owner-occupied homes: debate over proposed housing near Gundersen in La Crosse

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Several proposals for multi-unit housing in La Crosse neighborhoods have run into opposition recently, mainly because of plans to put them near single-family homes.

A townhouse project in the 1000 block of Denton Street has drawn criticism from some homeowners who worry that their neighborhood will change.

The La Crosse plan commission heard comments Monday night. Panel member Elaine Yager defended having rental properties in the city.

“There is a huge preference, to have a rental property, in some cases,” she told the commission. “I’d like to see us not make them the bad guy, ’cause I don’t think everybody that rents is the bad guy.”

City council member Jennifer Trost said La Crosse is trying to achieve a balance between rentals and family ownership.

“We have that problem everywhere in the city, with houses being turned into rentals,” Trost said. “And the things that we see happening, particularly around the campus area, where old houses have been turned into unfortunate uses, so this is the dilemma of private property, right? People get to do what they want.”

The Denton Street project was narrowly approved by the commission and sent on to a council committee.

The same panel also voted to let the new Farnam Flats apartment complex convert planned commercial space into housing units.

Owners of the building told the city that a possible commercial development on the property had fallen through.

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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