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La Crosse plan commission rejects zoning exception against downtown coffee kiosk proposal



The parking lot at 3rd and La Crosse streets on May 1, 2023, where a coffee kiosk is proposed (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

A drive-thru coffee kiosk in downtown La Crosse is being proposed to city leaders this week.

A company called Northern Grounds has plans to put the kiosk in a downtown parking lot at 3rd and La Crosse streets, near the old La Crosse Tribune office.

There’s just one hiccup — the block is zoned for buildings at least two stories tall.

Zack Mueller of Northern Grounds asked Monday for an exemption from the City Plan Commission.

“(The lot) isn’t very big,” Mueller said. “It’s hard to imagine a skyscraper going there, or even a multi-tenant, multi-story building, to be honest. It’s only .4 acres.”

Mueller said the company actually wanted to put a full coffee house on the lot but that would require at least .75 acres.

The city’s two-story minimum requirement is designed to enhance an urban look for downtown La Crosse.

City planner Andrea Trane said multi-story zoning for that section of downtown is called for in order to encourage business development that covers less ground.

“Looking at wanting to build up, rather than the limited opportunities that we have to build out, and to try to keep with that urban design of our downtown as it’s meant to be,” is how Trane explained it during the meeting.

The exemption was turned down, but the plan will be considered again Tuesday night by the city council Judiciary and Administration Committee.

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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. gregory Harvieux

    May 2, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    Make it 2 stories tall. 2 parking levels.more exposure and a view.

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