On Thursday night, the La Crosse Common Council voted to refer a rezoning ordinance for a new recovery center for 30 days.
The referral came from Cheryl Hancock, Executive Director of Coulee Council on Addictions. She cited a last minute submission of legal papers from the city that needed to be reviewed both by other board members and by Mayo Clinic Health Systems as the landowners.
The vote to refer the rezoning issue did not come without heated discussion.
Jaqueline Marcou, District 6, argued that 30 days would not change any opinions of other council members. She wanted to see the emotional issue addressed following the weeks of previous discussion.
David Marshall, District 4, and Roger Christians, District 13, voted to approve the referral, believing that a final vote on the rezoning Thursday night would be too risky. Andrea Richmond, District 1, was absent, and her vote would automatically become a no. In the event of a super majority vote, three-fourths of the council needs to vote in favor in order for the ordinance to pass. With Richmond missing, her vote could change the entire outcome.
Board members of Coulee Council on Addictions were not surprised at the debate but are happy with the approved referral.
"I remain optimistic," said Tom Thompson, Co-chair of Voices for Recovery Campaign. "We know in our hearts that the vote will be close. It's not going to be 12-1 against us, that sort of thing. I think it's going to be a very close vote."
Thursday night's council meeting was standing room only. Dozens of supporters word purple "Voices for Recovery" stickers.
Thompson said the board will use the extra time to review legal papers before the vote returns to the full council on October 12.