Summer flower

Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is a perennial with four species and six varieties all indigenous to North America. Viroqua leaders are discussing an ordinance which may impact where flowers can be planted.

About 22 people filled Viroqua City Hall’s council chambers Aug. 1 as Public Property Committee members voted to change enforcement options concerning a boulevard flower garden ordinance.

Prior to the committee’s discussion and vote, several people spoke.

Mike Koppa, a city alderman in the audience, read comments on behalf of Vicki Ramsay, who was unable to attend the meeting. “Most people admire gardens and growing things… if safely maintained, it increases property values and boosts spirits and encourages pollination… Can we be a town that respects these values?”

Karen Allness, who lives on South Lincoln Avenue, said she likes flowers if they are being cared for. “What about the weeds that cover the flowers?”

Allness said weeds need to be pulled.

“I used to live on Maple Street and it was a beautiful street… and I look at it now and I’m so glad I’m out of there,” she said. “Council members have got to do something to let people know what they can do... we need to get our town back to the way it was…”

Mayor Larry Fanta said prior to about three years ago, the boulevards were always “green grass and trees, period.”

“This has been controversial,” Fanta said. “It’s been given a chance, and quite honestly, I’d like it to go back to green grass and trees.”

Fanta’s comment drew applause from some of the people in attendance.

“I’m not ready for green grass and trees,” committee member Terry Noble said.

Committee members Noble, Marc Polsean, John Thompson and Cyndy Hubbard voted to update the ordinance to enforce violations and give property owners seven days to come into compliance and to enforce the ordinance by having a city crew cut plants down to 3 inches if they exceed the height of 30 inches. Chairman Mike Bankes was absent.

The first reading of the updates concerning enforcement options in the boulevard flower garden ordinance was to be on the City Council agenda Aug. 8. (The meeting is after the Broadcaster’s deadline but see a future publication for more on the story).

In other business

The committee voted to send to the City Council its recommendation to consider rezoning of properties adjacent to Lewison Lane from conservation to residential.

City Administrator John Severson said sometimes Realtors come to him regarding houses by the city cemetery because it is zoned conservation. He said he has also been asked if a house in that area would burn down, could it be rebuilt. “I don’t know what to tell a homeowner or Realtor.”

Hubbard said she would like more information. Severson said the committee’s vote “starts the process” and the City Council will decide if it will go to the Plan Commission. The item was to be on the City Council agenda Aug. 8.

The committee also voted to have the properties at 808 Railroad Ave. and 218 E. Court St. inspected for maintenance violations.

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