La Crosse Considers New Sign Regs


Parts of La Crosse could look much different in the future, as City Council voted Thursday night to impose stricter sign and billboard rules.

What started out as a debate on electronic billboards, turned into a regulation overhaul. All electronic billboards must now be 1,200 feet from a home. As for electronic on-premise signs, they must have a one minute message hold time and they are prohibited in scenic and historic areas. The signs must also have monument style bases.

The contentious issue has divided the business community. Downtown Mainstreet President Mike Keil owns numerous properties in La Crosse. He says he is willing to change his signs. Keil says the ordinance will make the community more beautiful. “There are a lot of signs there that don’t blend with each other. They look hodgepodge, and they’re in your face. If we can tone that down a bit and have nice looking signs, I think it’s better for everybody.”

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Some business owners say the new rules will make it difficult for people to locate them. City council member and business owner Chris Olson says the sign ordinance will hurt businesses. “When you start restricting those businesses you hinder them. That’s not what we should be about. They keep saying this is going to enhance the business community and I don’t think it does.”

If an existing sign does not conform to the new standards, business owners have 15 years to comply.