LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Thank you for the time and effort you have put in as Common Council members. As Council members, the most important votes that you will cast are those that pertain to Geneva Lake, The Riviera, Hillmoor property and the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which affects all of them. In your decisions remember the City of Lake Geneva is its people, not the buildings, structures or government. Without the people, there is no city and you as one of us (a resident of the city) were elected to represent us. That is a great privilege and you as a group are the authority within the city.
The biggest issue of the day is the City’s Comprehensive Plan because it impacts all issues on all of us and sets the city’s basic direction for the next 10 years. I thank you in advance for taking the time to read the following comments that I have written on Oct. 14, 2019 Draft 2 of the Comprehensive Plan.
The city’s Comprehensive Plan not only has the power and authority to control what can and cannot be done with and on a parcel of land. It also gives or takes away some of that authority from the city’s current Common Council as well as future Common Councils. The plan’s verbiage, not just the maps, are important because that verbiage by itself can limit the Common Council’s legal authority to deny a developer’s request, because it expresses the will of the people of the city to control the city’s future. First understand that you, the Common Council did not write the Comprehensive Plan and like any written document, it has the bias of those who wrote and assembled it and that bias needs to be removed and corrected before the document is approved or it becomes binding. If not removed any bias will become our law and it will alter the city’s future. If you do not like something in the Comprehensive Plan then ask that it be changed or removed.
Your job is to carefully review it, listen to other views and then do one of three things 1.) Approve it, 2.) Deny it or 3.) Send it back for corrections.
Read it carefully starting with page 1: The Executive Summary. The opening paragraph states “The City of Lake Geneva has adopted a progressive, long-range plan that focuses on enhancing environmental quality and community character while directing modest future growth into infill and redevelopment areas. To carry out the City’s ambitious vision, this Comprehensive Plan includes detailed goals, objectives, policies, and programs.”
So, what is the City’s ambitious vision, goals, objectives, and plans? If they were the city council’s plans and not someone else’s plan, you would already know them, but you don’t.
Page 1 lists directing modest future growth into infill and redevelopment areas, then lists the former Hillmoor Golf Course as the most significant opportunity in the city for infill development. The residents are overwhelmingly opposed to it as infill development and in favor of the preservation of that land, not its development. Why list it as an opportunity for infill development when it is in opposition to its preservation? Because the writers of the plan want it to be developed and there would be nothing modest about the development of the Hillmoor property.
On page 5, under Current Planning Efforts, it lists “Create a programmed public plaza by closing Wrigley Drive.” For the last 20 years, there has been an effort to shut down parts of Wrigley Drive and residents have overwhelmingly opposed it. So, why is it even listed? Because the writers of the plan are setting the stage to shut down Wrigley Drive by listing it in the current planning efforts, so in the future it can be shut down and make it legally difficult for the council to stop a request to shut it down because it is not only being planned and in the Comprehensive Plan, but it is important enough to be included in the opening summary. Whose view is the development of Hillmoor and shutting down of Wrigley Drive and why are they in there? Is this their view of enhancing the community character or is it to destroy it? In addition to the bias points of view, some of the data listed as facts are inaccurate and some are summarized in a misleading manner.-
Just to list a couple: On Page 147, Figure 9.5 lists the private sector employees for the top 12 employers in the area. Three of the 12 (25%) are listed as follows: Primex Wireless (100-to- 249), Klockit (100-to-249), Chaney Instrument Co. (100-249), which would imply (300-to-747) employees for the three companies; whereas, they are combined together as one company employing around 150 employees not 300 to 747 as stated.-
On Page 11, figure 1.1 Population Trends show a 9% growth between 2000 and 2017 which is very misleading because 7% of that growth occurred between 2000 and 2010 and in the last seven years there has been only 1.5% growth with only 0.2% per year. Unfortunately, some of the statistics do appear to be accurate and they do represent a subtle but a serious problem within the city as shown on page 12 under Demographic Trends, where it states that there are 0% African American in the City of Lake Geneva and no one dares to asks why?
On Page 147, the second paragraph under D Commuting Patterns is misleading, incorrectly and confusingly written and stated. It reads verbatim13 percent (717) of Lake Geneva residents were employed within Lake Geneva in 2015. A total of 2,278 Lake Geneva residents (13 percent) worked outside of the City of Lake Geneva, and 4,727 (87 percent) employees in Lake Geneva live outside of the City, indicating that Lake Geneva is a net importer of jobs.
What it means: There are 5,433 jobs in the City of Lake Geneva. [4,727/.85]= 5,433 (717 residents) of the City of Lake Geneva are employed in the City of Lake Geneva (4,727 non-residents) of the City of Lake Geneva are employed in the city of Lake Geneva. (2,278 Residents) of the City of Lake Geneva are employed in work outside of the City of Lake Geneva. The net result is that Lake Geneva is a net creator of 160 jobs.
I would ask if these jobs include part-time, summer and service jobs because 5,344 employed workers in a city of 7,766 seem very high except during peak summer months.] [5433-717]= 4716; [4716-2278]= 2,438; [2438-2278]= 160 jobs
Terry O’Neill, Lake Geneva resident, former Alderperson and local activist