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Brian Pollard, the builder, the player, the vanguard protector of old people.  This man is special smart.  He figured out that he could pull off a ‘keyhole’ operation, building a club near Geneva Lake, adding a pier and some boats.  He then advertised to all of Chicago that elderly folk could come to Lake Geneva, buy a smallish residence, and have rights to the lake, to the club, and to some boating on a regular basis ( called Symphony Bay).  That was all business, but the brilliant part of the deal was how well Pollard knew his market. The old people came, and they are still coming.  But they don’t go to the club or lake or out in the boats.  They moved on from all of that with age.  Brilliant.

The community that was worried about the addition of all those boats to the lake, the foot traffic across the road, the auto traffic from coming and going never materialized.  Pollard figured all that out ahead of time.  He also figured out how he was going to avoid paying the $3655.00 of impact fees he was supposed to pay on each of the first 427 units.  Yes, that’s a couple of million bucks in what are called impact fees, covered under Lake Geneva ordinance 13-21.  Pollard still owes the money.  Why is nobody collecting it, and what of the new units all going in and the new impact fee money that needs to be collected?

Pollard wrote a letter to the city, indicating those things I mentioned earlier in this letter, how his old people buying the houses make no impact on the area so he shouldn’t have to pay impact fees.  Funny that the ordinance 13-21 does not mention a sliding scale for payment by supposed usage.  What will Lake Geneva do about managing its ambient attitude, image, and services in the future?  There are places that abound with such little boxes like Pollard is building, that people call homes.  But who do they attract to live in them and what does that mean for the areas that allow or even encourage the building of them?

Higher density population takes a remote rural place, even a place of such resort ideal delight as Lake Geneva, and slowly converts it into an ever slower-moving, faster-living ‘packed in like sardines in olive oil’ kind of existence making it into an urban form of hell.  There are places that deliberately specialize in those kinds of settings.  They are legend in name, from Sun City and Sun City West in California to the Villages in Florida, and so many more.  Is this the direction the communities around Geneva Lake want the entire area to head into?

Lake Geneva, the city, is about a whole lot more than Lake Geneva the city all in of itself.  It’s really about being the cutting edge of what this resort-oriented paradise of a lake area is all about, and it must be planned and controlled to keep it that way and actually improve on into the future.  The lack of organization and leadership are the two biggest factors that may cause the lake to lose its luster, ambiance, and even its very identity.  The formation of the Geneva Lake Association was supposed to help and allow for some centralization of community thought and action.  It failed.  The small-minded leaders of the communities around the lake made it into the eunuch of associations.  The TIFF was created to allow the other communities around the lake to help fund projects that might assist everyone but be centered in Lake Geneva.  It was also supposed to have allowed for more participation when it came to determining the direction in Lake Geneva’s future growth.  That program failed too, for the same reason.  As long as the communities around the lake continue to allow the Pollards of the world to divide up and conquer their living areas then ‘assisted living is going to take on a whole new meaning.  If the lake communities continue to endorse and support ‘waiting to die’ philosophies to dominate the lake landscape, then that phrase will become a prediction of the future for everyone who makes the Geneva Lake area home.


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