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As I See It

City spending a lot of time on small issues



The city of La Crosse has a long history of overthinking things. The city council can take the most mundane item and study it to death before making a decision. Remember the debate over backyard chickens from a couple of years ago? City Hall dragged its feet trying to determine whether people should be allowed to keep chickens in their yard, and if so, under what circumstances. Council members ultimately approved the legislation, but first they debated it as if it were some monumental decision. Now, years later, only a small handful of people keep backyard chickens in the city, and there have been few reported problems. Now the city has spent months debating the idea of “granny flats” or tiny backyard houses where people could live. The issue was debated for months, public hearings were held and the issue is finally expected to be decided at the council meeting on Thursday. Unless it gets referred again. Some fear this could lead to a proliferation of tiny houses built in backyards or above garages, but that seems unlikely. The city of Onalaska has allowed granny flats for years, but today, only about five of them have been approved and are in use. It seems the city is spending a lot of time and resources debating something that in the end won’t amount to a hill of beans.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. Bob N.

    February 6, 2024 at 7:26 am

    The main job of a Mayor at Council meetings is to guide the meetings in a productive direction. I think the last Mayor to do that was Milo Knutson.

  2. Tom

    February 6, 2024 at 9:28 am

    Mayors and councilmen (all politicians) are not experts. If they have questions (and they should), they should take the time necessary to understand as much as needed to make a fully informed decision before voting. It’s called the democratic process.

  3. Walden

    February 6, 2024 at 11:54 pm

    The less it (government) does, the better off we all are.

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