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Scenic La Crosse

Keeping God's Country Beautiful

Current Issues

BREAKING NEWS: Proposed Electronic Billboards Face Onalaska, Medary and LaX Homes. And More To Come?

This billboard at Farm and Fleet might be made taller and would flash every 7.5 seconds in Elmwood and other Onalaska and Medary neighborhoods off County OS, and even homes off County B.

This billboard (yellow and brown on right) near Piepho Moving and Storage might be made taller and flash in windows of neighbors every 7.5 seconds.

If you are concerned, please join us:

    Onalaska Common Council
    Tuesday, May 8th, 7:00 p.m.
    Onalaska City Hall, 415 Main Street

It is especially critical that Onalaska citizens attend.

BREAKING NEWS: Signage in Shelby "Island" Impacts La Crosse Homes Along Diagonal Rd

Signage in Shelby "island" impacts La Crosse homes along Diagonal Rd.

Electronic Sign in Shelby "island" flashes in Shelby and La Crosse homes along Losey

After 10 months of meetings and compromises, the County Board passed an ordinance by a 23-to-4 vote in February tightening up standards for billboards and signs of all types.  The goal was to make our County more attractive for residents, tourists, and business.  In many ways we feel the ordinance was not strict enough, with signs allowed to be 20 feet tall anywhere.  The national trend keeps signs at curbside low, drawing the eye to attractive "wall signs" on buildings.

Now we learn that the sign companies have convinced the Shelby Town Board that the ordinance is not business-friendly, and to write their own ordinance.  The first draft eliminates the 300-foot setback for electronic business signs from residences, allowing them to flash in people's windows.  Many signs are also allowed to be taller, bigger, and more numerous.

For anyone wanting sensible regulations, NOW IS THE TIME to attend town meetings and/or let our Town Board members know.  At this point, the simplest message might be something like this written in your own words.

Bottom Line: We hope Shelby will adopt the County's sign ordinance as is OR one that is stricter than the County's.  

For Shelby Town Hall Meeting Dates, Agendas, and Minutes, click here:  http://www.townofshelby.com/content/town_board


On February 16, the La Crosse County Board approved the new sign ordnance 23-4-9. The new sign ordinance will be in effect only in the unincorporated towns that have not adopted their own sign ordinance. The Town of Campbell and the Town of Holland have already adopted their own sign ordinance. 

The new ordinance will permit signs on private property in all districts with standards based on the district, the size and type of sign. Most signs will not need a permit, but freestanding and illuminated signs of certain sizes and types, as well as electronic message units and billboards will require a permit. Existing signs are grandfathered and can be maintained for the life of the sign.


The City of Onalaska - Plan Commission Subcommittee continues their regular meetings with the conversion of existing billboards to digital LED billboards on the agenda.

Last year, the City of Onalaska decided to consider digital LED billboards with a swap formula while it was a hot topic in the county. The dominant billboard company in this region has proposed converting two existing billboards to digital LED billboards. The two locations are:

1. Adjacent to State Hwy 16 next to Farm Fleet, 9438 State Hwy 16 (Visible to the neighborhoods by County Hwy OS and County Hwy B)

2. Adjacent to I-90 next to Piepho Moving & Storage, 1300 Oak Forest Dr (Visible to the neighborhoods of Oak Forest Dr and 12th Ave S)

This meeting is just another one of many where the topic has been discussed. To date the only "public" input has come from the billboard company and a general online poll - there has been no real public hearing on this item to date and many people - especially those in the neighborhoods these digital LED billboards will be closest to - do not even know it is being considered. 

The Onalaska Planning Dept was directed by the Committee to draft changes to the ordinance that would include language permitting the conversions. The first draft would permit larger sign faces (300 sqf to 672 sqf), increased heights (up to 45 feet above the centerline of the adjacent highway) and only limit them to 300 feet from a residential district (Digital LED billboards are readily visible for miles).

It is essential that people start speaking up if they do not want to see these monstrosities in Onalasak!

Here's what you can do to help.

1. Complete the online poll and share your views 

2. Contact your elected officials in the City of Onalaska and share your views

3. If you can attend the Plan Commission Subcommittee meetings, please do so

4. Submit a letter to the editor with your views to the Courier Life News

5. Join Scenic La Crosse and "Like" us on Facebook

6. Share with everyone you know in Onalaska!


The Sign Ordinance Review Committee also continues to meet every other week in order to complete their work before the moratorium ends this summer. These meetings are gathering public input in order to develop values statements, which city staff will use as the basis for proposed changes to the current sign ordinance.

Last year the billboard company proposed converting three existing billboards to digital LED billboards with four faces. The three locations are all along the Great River Road and on land that is currently zoned commercial, but also adjacent to neighborhoods: The three locations are:

1. Adjacent to US Hwys 14 & 61 (LWK Auto, 3325 Mormon Coulee Rd) One face (South)

2. Adjacent to US Hwys 14 & 61 (Noelke Distributing, 425 Nelson Pl - near South Ave and 7th St S) One face (North)

3. Adjacent to US Hwy 53 (Farrell Equipment Co., 110 Copeland Ave - Rose St & Copeland ave split) Two faces (North & South)

Here's what you can do to help.

1. Contact your elected officials in the City of La Crosse and share your views

3. If you can attend the Sign Ordinance Review Committee meetings, please do so

4. Submit a letter to the editor with your views to the La Crosse Tribune

5. Join Scenic La Crosse and "Like" us on Facebook

6. Share with everyone you know in La Crosse!


Also, of interest:  La Crosse is included with other communities 'from sea to shining see' in this preview for the documentary "Chronicle of the Billboard Wars"