- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - City leaders in La Crosse are considering whether to make it illegal to have upholstered furniture in outside spaces.

The Common Council is expected to make a decision Thursday on the proposed ordinance banning indoor furniture on outdoor decks, porches, roofs or balconies.

The measure was introduced by council member Francis Formanek, a retired La Crosse firefighter, who argues that it’s a matter of safety, the La Crosse Tribune (https://bit.ly/1RM5gRL ) reported. Upholstered furniture made for indoor use often is more flammable, especially if it’s older, because it might not be made up of flame-retardant materials, he said.

“Once they get going,” Formanek said, “you wouldn’t believe the amount of heat.”

A smoldering cigarette butt that’s accidentally dropped into a cushion could take hours to burst into flame, and could happen long after those who live in the residence call it a night, he said.

Assistant Fire Chief Warren Thomas agrees that upholstered furniture in outside spaces presents “a fire hazard as well as a safety issue.”

The ordinance also would be an aesthetic improvement to the city, Formanek said.

The Judiciary and Administration Committee voted 7-1 Tuesday to recommend the ordinance to the full council. But some council members questioned whether the measure is overreaching and if the issue warrants new legislation.

“Nothing feels great to me (about the ban),” council member David Krump said, “but nothing feels that awful, either.”

Gary Padesky, the only committee member to cast a no vote Tuesday, called it “under-the-table city politics” and said the plan “just reeks” of harassing students in the area of the city that includes the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

The city already prohibits indoor furniture from sitting on lawns for more than 48 hours.

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Information from: La Crosse Tribune, https://www.lacrossetribune.com

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