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While the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s proposal for a transitional housing facility on Farnam Street dominated the discussion at Wednesday’s La Crosse Plan Commission and Judiciary and Administrative Committee meetings, the two groups also tackled parking near two of the city’s college campuses and several redevelopment projects.

A proposal to require paid on-street parking near University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College could be allowed to move forward if the La Crosse Common Council concurs with Wednesday’s decision to turn down council member Justice Weaver’s ban on a pay-by-phone parking zone pilot program.

The ban was proposed after the Board of Public Works in September gave the city’s parking utility the go-ahead to require drivers to pay $1 an hour to park on select streets around UW-L and Western. Under the policy, they will be required to pay by phone, either using a mobile app called Passport Parking or by calling 1-800-789-7593.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat urged the committee to turn down the ban, saying it’s within the Board of Public Works’ authority to create the program, adding that “When the parking system was governed by the council, it didn’t work very well,” Kabat said.

“I understand where maybe the process isn’t ideal and all that, but if the council expects us to come back to you with every single decision that gets made about charging for parking, our whole system will grind to a halt like it was before,” Kabat said.

The committee voted 5 to 2 against the proposed ban.

Mormon Coulee proposal

The site of a former fast food restaurant turned auto title loan store could see new life later this year.

A corporation called 4009 MCR Partners LLC has purchased 4009 Mormon Coulee Road with the intention of tearing down the existing building, originally constructed as a Hardee’s, and building a structure to hold two or three commercial spaces.

In a cover letter included with the application, 4009 MCR Partners LLC co-manager John Rooney said the replacement structure will be about 5,050 square feet and replace the building that has been vacant since PLS Installment & Auto Loans closed down.

“We believe the removal of the existing structure, vacant for the past 4-5 years, will be a benefit to the community,” Rooney wrote to the city.

According to a timeline Rooney submitted to the city, construction is scheduled to begin in April and wrap up in August.

The permit was approved with the condition that the company provide a payment in lieu of taxes to the city if construction does not begin in 2019. The total tax on the 0.789-acre site in 2018 was $13,779.

Student housing

A proposal to redevelop several parcels in the 300 block of West Avenue North moved forward after the committee approved rezoning the property.

Brian Benson of Benson Property Management plans to demolish the existing student housing and replace it with a 22-unit housing and office space development with 58 parking spaces. The rezoning will allow a larger building that includes office space and housing on the first floor.

Triplex on 11th

Thomas and Deree Friedewald of South Properties LLC hope to turn the rundown home at 505 North 11th St. into a tri-plex with 11 off-street parking spaces. They requested three waivers to parking rules, which would allow the parking area to be closer to the street than the structure, to shrink the landscaping buffer from 15 to 5 feet and be closer than 5 feet to the sidewalk.

While the Plan Commission voted to deny two of the setback waivers, the Judiciary and Administration Committee unanimously approved all three, with supporters saying without the approvals the project will be unable to move forward.

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Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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City government reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

(1) comment

Thomas Blankenship

I cannot understand why paid parking ban is turned down by La carosse administrative committee. I think Mayor should change my assignment services mind on turning down the paid parking ban near college campuses. I must say that City Mayor shouold give relief to the students as much as he can.

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