City Council gives Barron Island development go-ahead, denies development in Town of Shelby

Mayor cites design, fiscal concerns

The City Council has a big say in the changing face of La Crosse, recently approving a residential development on Barron Island but putting the brakes on a plan to add housing to the Town of Shelby.

Thursday night, the council gave developers the green light to add 26 condominiums to the former Holiday Inn site on Barron Island, which has been vacant for around two decades.

“All of these are high-value homes going on the site, which will be nothing but good for the tax base of the city of La Crosse,” said Phillip Addis, attorney for the developer, Water Place One LLC.

The council denied a plan from developers of the Quarry on Irish Hill, proposing 27 residential plots in the Town of Shelby off of Highway 33. According to La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat, they were concerned about long dead-end roads and what that means for emergency responders, along with financial worries about city services being used but tax money staying in Shelby.

“If we do want to have a larger boundary agreement, those are the types of developments where we should be having a better outcome as far as payment for services, who’s providing services,” he said.

Although the development is in the Town of Shelby, the city of La Crosse was able to deny the plan because it falls within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction in a 3-mile range outside the city, according to the Town of Shelby Chairman Timothy Candahl.

Candahl said residential developments will be good for business in La Crosse and wouldn’t be a burden on the city.

“They have their own fire, they have their own water, their own sewer. Really, there are no services they are going to be demanding from La Crosse,” he said. “Are they going to be using the airport? Are they going to be using the libraries? Are they going to be using the La Crosse Center? Sure, but everybody does.”

Candahl said that he is open to coming up with shared revenue plans, and he is in negotiations with the city.

“There are other developments in the Town of Shelby which are going to be in areas where we can do some revenue sharing, but as of right now we feel these areas located up on the top of the bluff probably aren’t as big of a player,” he said.

Kabat said it’s possible the city will approve a plan from the Quarry on Irish Hill in the future.

“It’d really be up to the applicant if they’d want to get it reconsidered, or if we have some of those conversations with the town board to see if there can be some arrangements made, whether it’s revenue sharing or sharing of services or something else like that,” he said.

Candahl said he hopes to have boundary agreements with the city laid out by late fall.