Friday, October 20, 2023

Short Term Rentals

We recently received this notice about short-term rental legislation coming before the city council.

In general, short-term rentals may reduce the availability of affordable housing, especially when houses are purchased by businesses specifically to be short term rentals.  Some communities are restricting ownership and operation of short-term rentals.

This is from Joe Leinfelder:

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you are well.  I want to connect to discuss the upcoming City of La Crosse Judiciary & Administration Committee (J&A) meeting on October 30 as Short Term Rentals (STRs) will be on the agenda, and ask for fast action from you.  Short Term Rentals are taking families out of neighborhoods.  I have attended several neighborhood meetings to discuss STRs and the overall viewpoint is clear. A large number of people have valid reasons for not wanting them in their neighborhoods but if they are allowed, there must be all reasonable, lawful restrictions possible.   

When I review the recently passed Comprehensive Plan, which gives outstanding direction, I see that a focus is on growing neighborhoods. The conversion of a home to a STR stunts that growth and triggers other severe issues including loss of school, tourism and other tax revenues.

I also would like to better understand how an R1 home can be converted to a rental with no change in the status in the zoning designation.

I will be asking the City's Judiciary & Administration Committee (J&A) on October 30, at 6:00pm, to continue to review the ordinance as well as the application process, before moving to next steps.  Anything we can do to control the growth of STRs in La Crosse is a great step to growing our population.

I am asking you to immediately call or write to all City Council members as well as attend the J&A meeting on October 30, at 6:00 pm at City Hall, when the unsatisfactory, proposed STR ordinance is on the agenda. You can use this address to email all councilmembers at once:

Many voices need to be heard and they need to be heard soon. You can speak at the meeting and/or register at the beginning of the meeting against the STR ordinance. The sign-up rules and agenda are here. Hopefully, the City Council will take a large step back, and do much more review, perhaps with new citizen input, before bringing the STR ordinance to a vote.

These are some controls to ask for:

  • A public hearing must be held prior to conversion to allow neighbors within 300 feet of the proposed conversion to provide input and raise special concerns.
  • No current location grandfathered in. 
  • The owner’s and property management’s contact information must be provided to all properties within 300 feet.  Proper management must be located within 30 miles and available at all times to respond to issues.
  • Number of occupants shall not exceed limits of Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code, must be posted in STR, and must be stated in the permit. 
  • Limit the number permits of STRs in residential areas.
  • Placard visible from street right-of-way containing telephone number and name of local property management representative.
  • Outdoor activity, and any amplified sound, must be between 10:00am – 10:00pm, with limits on size of activity based on space.
  • No excessive noise, fumes, glare.
  • Yards must be maintained to match neighborhood upkeep.
  • Garbage pick-up – timely.
  • Parking is an issue and must be addressed.  
    • Parking plans in place, with parking only in driveways and in front of STR.
    • No vehicle traffic should be greater than normally expected in the neighborhood.
  • Maximum number of days the dwelling may be rented shall not exceed 180 days per calendar year.
  • Minimum property rental period is to be 6 consecutive days.
  • Fee: $1,000 registration with annual $250.00 renewal and health inspection $250.00.
  • Identify fines for poorly run STRs.
  • Fire plan must be given to the fire department.
  • Complaint telephone line created for reporting issues.


I believe Madison, WI has done a great job developing an ordinance.  I  believe La Crosse can also be the leader in developing an ordinance that is right for neighborhoods.  Just like the Comprehensive Plan, it takes time to get it right.

Here are some examples from around Wisconsin.





Let me know if you have time to connect or if you have questions. 

Thank you,

Joe Leinfelder




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