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One meeting down, one to go: La Crosse gathers opinions on backyard houses, second meeting set for Thursday night



The idea of allowing small backyard houses in La Crosse could force some homeowners to make tough choices.

City leaders are considering a new ordinance on what’s called accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

An online public meeting about the plan was held Wednesday with a second hearing set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Nature Place in Myrick Park.

La Crosse environmental planner Lewis Kuhlman said families would be limited to 1,000 square feet of space for any structures in a backyard.

“It wouldn’t be expanded to allow ADUs,” Kuhlman said. “You’d have to make a choice, do you want a garage or an ADU?”

Kuhlman added that if you want both, you might need a multi-level building.

Council member Jennifer Trost said the small houses could be useful, because the average household size in La Crosse is shrinking.

“This is another way to be adapting to the future that we know is coming,” Trost said. “In La Crosse right now, about 70 percent of households are made up on either one or two people.”

City planner Tim Acklin said applications for backyard homes would have to go through a review process, even though they would be on private property.

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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