The Bright Side

The moment for decisions has arrived in the Linn Comprehensive Plan Update process and your presence is imperative!
Approval of the Geneva Inn’s plans for commercializing their residential lakeshore property will be determined August 22nd, at the mapping stage of the Linn Comprehensive Plan. It’s called the “Community Mapping Forum,” and represents the one and only opportunity for all Linn residents, both full time and part time, plus other concerned Geneva Lake Community residents, to express their feelings on whether they want to allow the Geneva Inn to build a banquet hall complex on the residential shores of Geneva Lake, or not.

Voting, in this instance, is to be very artfully done. It will not be done by marking a ballot. It will be done at a “coloring session,” by coloring a map of the town to designate where each resident wants the land in the town used for residential, commercial, farming, etc. purposes. The current Town Land Use Map shows the area around the Geneva Inn to be residential, as it has been for well over a 100 years. To keep this a lakeshore residential area there needs to be a majority of the maps created on August 22nd, and then submitted to the community planner, Jeff Sanders, colored residential. If the residential demand is insufficient, Mr. Sanders will have justification to identify the area as commercial on the Land Use Map, thereby allowing the Geneva Inn the opportunity to build its Banquet Hall, or any other commercial enterprise they might choose right down to the water. That kind of development would be contrary to the over one-hundred-year tradition established by the Covenant Doctrine that prohibits commercialization of residential lakeshore property, but the doctrine can only be enforced when the community stands up and demands it be honored.

It is important that all concerned community residents attend this vital meeting, and take an active role on August 22nd at the Linn Town Hall in Zenda at 6:00 p.m. Arrangements for The Geneva Inn’s annexation haven’t been finalized as of yet because the City of Lake Geneva is also going through its own comprehensive plan and map update. As one of the first requirements for annexation, the Geneva Inn has made a formal request of the Lake Geneva Plan Commission that the new city comprehensive land use map re-designate all current Geneva Inn lakeshore residential properties to commercial zoning. The Geneva Inn hasn’t formally requested the same commercial map change by the Linn Plan Commission, because it is hoping that its friends in Linn will be doing it for them at the map coloring session on August 22nd. In an effort to prevent annexation back in 2015, the Linn Plan Commission did approve a commercial rezone of one of the Geneva Inn’s lakeshore properties, but that wasn’t good enough for the Geneva Inn.

The owners wanted all their lakeshore residential properties commercialized. So, the likelihood, now in 2017, is that some of the Town of Linn officials will be attempting to shower the Geneva Inn with possible concessions in order to seduce them into staying in Town. This means they could be getting all their commercialization demands approved despite the abusive effects this would have on Geneva Lake and the residents of the residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Geneva Inn. The Geneva Inn has hired lawyers and lobbyists who have what likely hopes is more than a sufficient degree of influence, both in Linn and the City of Lake Geneva. Therefore, although there is a great deal of respect for elected Linn officials, from time to time they need to be reminded that they are elected by us to serve the needs and concerns of the people of Linn, and not just the commercial special interests. We the people can do nothing, however, unless more people come together to make their voices and wishes heard. If you appreciate the hard work our forefathers put forth to keep the Geneva Lakeshore residential and free of commercialization for everyone’s benefit and enjoyment, then now’s the time when you should realize it’s our turn to step up to help perpetuate this legacy that makes Geneva Lake such an admired destination location.

Come one, come all, and let your voices be heard, August 22nd at 6:00 p.m., or even a little later if necessary, to Linn Town Hall, W3728 Franklin Walsh St., Zenda, WI. Phone number 262-275-6300.


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