The City of Lake Geneva’s City Council suffers from Sign-a-Phobia, and selective amnesia. Sign-a-Phobia is an incurable disease that has infected Lake Geneva’s city council. Virtually all signs, except for house numerals, legal notices or a sign for a business in which the city has a vested interest, are, if not outright banned, then they are very tightly regulated, requiring a permit, fee and/or planning commission and city council approval. A few examples of signs (if not grandfathered in) currently banned in the city; pole signs, lighted signs, neon signs, flashing signs, rope light signs, second floor signs, mural signs, moving signs, signs with moving parts, mobile signs, scrolling signs, sandwich board signs, protruding signs, flag signs and billboard signs, just to list a few.
Why a rampage about signs? The sign issue was triggered by the planning commission’s denial to Gregory Kremser’s request to change the wording on the “Chicago Pizza” sign. Two statutes [Section 98-913 -11 (h) & (j)] were referenced in the discussion that led to the denial of his application. Based on these statutes the city council made the appropriate decision to deny Mr. Kremser’s application; however, these (ordinances or statutes) were selectively applied to Mr. Kremser; whereas, for the movie theater (in which the city has a vested interest of $800,000 in the success of that private business) the city council approved a sign for the theater that was in clear violation of section (h) which was used to deny Mr. Kremser’s request.
Despite Mr. Slavney’s comments in the Plan meeting about sub-section (h) never being used before, both sections (h) & (j) were relevant to the discussion that led to the changing of the Bruno’s roof sign from Grandma Vickie’s back to Bruno’s, which was done before the theater’s sign was approved by the city council. Selective enforcement against Mr. Kremser’s request, and selective non-enforcement or sign amnesia for the theater (a private business) in which the city has a vested financial interest in the success of that business, sounds like a good starting point for litigation against the city by Mr. Kremser. The city needs to keep their manipulative “con” out of “consistent,” and quit making exceptions and decisions for the selected benefit of a few.