47-lot subdivision on Brice Prairie gets rezoning OK

A 38-acre residential subdivision has been proposed on Brice Prairie south of the Brice First Responders building on Hwy. ZN. The necessary rezoning for the 47-lot development has been approved by the Onalaska Town Board and a La Crosse County Board committee.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

Getting the first phase of Brice Prairie’s Rivendell Addition going was a heavy lift, but approval of the second phase appears poised for smooth sailing.

The La Crosse County Board’s Property, Resources and Development Committee unanimously approved a rezoning request Monday evening to make way for 47 lots on about 38 acres south of Hwy. ZN between Lake Park Drive and Lakeview Court East. The Onalaska Town Board also has approved the rezoning, leaving just approval from the full county board before the subdivision can proceed.

Rivendell’s 37-lot first phase was proposed in early 2005 and didn’t get final approval until well over a year later, with the delay largely coming from wrangling with the town board over stormwater retention plans.

The lots in the first phase were ready for sale about the time the Great Recession hit, which made for a slow start for lot sales, said developer Chris Vaaler, who said one lot in phase one is left, with the average home value at about $400,000.

“Phase I actually turned out quite well,” Vaaler said.

Rivendell Phase II includes 43 lots — between 0.75 and one acre in size — zoned for single-family homes, with restrictive covenants designed to ensure only upscale homes will be built. Four larger lots along Hwy. ZN, which will be screened from lots to the south by a 6-foot earthen berm, would be zoned commercial.

Vaaler explained that these lots weren’t meant for businesses. Instead, he said, the commercially-zoned lots are intended for contractors or other business owners who want to build homes and have accessory buildings that could offer storage for their businesses.

Several residents at Monday’s PRD committee public hearing expressed concern that the commercial zoning could be used for active businesses, but the committee put that concern to rest by requiring deed restrictions on those four lots that would prohibit retail or commercial use of the properties.

The property now is planted in soybeans, but Vaaler said once the harvest is finished grading work and road installation can begin, probably in late November.

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Entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or randy.erickson@lee.net.

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