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Tuesday - February 13, 2018 7:24 pm

Downtown La Crosse business owner denies historic exception would set precedent

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The warnings are out there.

If Maria Norberg wins an appeal to remove the front door from her downtown La Crosse business, then other businesses will claim that as a precedent to do whatever they want to their buildings in the city's historic downtown.

Not even close, says Norberg. She's not changing the form of the front of her Grounded Specialty Coffee store on Main St., she's just the changing the function.

"What I'm trying to do is a small adjustment by adding a piece of glass over the front of the building," she said. "It's certainly nothing demo and, if a front door needed to be added, you could easily add it again."

Norberg made her store handicapped accessible by adding a ramp to the side of the building. She says having to maintain both entrances significantly decreases the usable space in her store.

The city's Historic Preservation Commission said she still can't remove the front door because it goes against historic building standards for the downtown.

Some on the city council warn about setting a bad precedent but Norberg doesn't buy it.

"I feel like it's not precedent setting," she said. "There's a process in place for appeals, should that be necessary, so these are, in my opinion, a case-by-case basis."

The council will vote on Norberg's appeal next month.

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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