Should the Lake Geneva City Council approve or deny the amendment request to change the city’s comprehensive plan for parcel ZYUP 00198 (located west of Edwards Blvd)?
The purpose of the requested change is to change the parcel from planned neighborhood to multi-family residential so that the fifteen six-apartment units of Copper Circle can be built around a manmade pond. Before making the decision, everyone needs to recall that the purpose of a comprehensive plan is always to give the city (residents) control over the city’s future development and expansion by having a cohesive and agreed upon long-term development. This control is always a onetime shot allowed by the state. It enables cities to plan and control their expansion, growth and plan the city’s future layout without complex small changes ruining everything. Lake Geneva’s current comprehensive plan accomplishes three things:
(1) It specifies and assures the current and permitted continued use of properties,
(2) It specifies the use that will be permitted in the future,
(3) It restricts the ability to request a change to the owner of the property.
No one else, not even the city can request a change to the currently approved use and/or the future use maps. Every “amendment” is an attempt to change to the city’s comprehensive plan, and the concern is “will the change improve the city’s future or make it worse?” As a general rule, changes should be rare, and amendments should restrict the use of the land rather than expand it. This likely result is there because existing categories that get changed open the door to many uses other than just the one, or ones, being proposed or presented by the owner. However, when the requested amendments are more restrictive on the land use, as this one is, then there is less risk and they should be considered based on their merits and benefits to the city and its residents. What is planned for the 12.24-acre development was clearly explained and looked good at the informative meeting on Sept. 5th, but what is planned for the rest of the about 45-acre parcel ZYUP 00198 was not explained, and it opens the door to a development that triples the size of the one being proposed.
The other issue is “rental versus owner-occupied.” Rental possession of the property is the new direction for the nation and it aids the renter’ personal mobility, avoids the anchor and complications of home ownership and it provides income for those who own the rental units which are the primary purpose of the rental property. Whether that purpose benefits the city’s residents is the issue because the purpose of the city government is to benefit the residents, and not the residents to benefit the city government or the real estate owners.
The question is “does the city need 90 more rental units, will the residents benefit from them, and what will be done with the remaining 2/3 of the parcel then zoned for only multi-family residential development?” What are they going to do, build 180 more rental units? Nobody yet knows, but everyone ought to be paying attention.