Living Here

The good, the bad and the ugly. These three words are not only the title of an old spaghetti western, they are the three words that can be used to describe a wedding banquet hall being dumped into a residential neighborhood. The building of a banquet hall has varied meanings and effects for different people, depending on its location. A banquet hall is “good” because it can be a great place to create lasting memories when celebrating and partying with friends and family. A banquet hall is “bad” when all the adverse side effects and collateral damage that can occur when a large group congregates in one place with an invitation or license to celebrate freely is considered. A banquet hall is “ugly” if its location is selected to be in a residential neighborhood, and it is particularly ugly if that location is chosen to be next to a private home.

Imagine putting every penny you have saved into buying the house of your dreams and working hard every day to pay the mortgage and taxes so you and your family can enjoy your version of the American dream. Then one day, a famous rock and roll band, like maybe the Rolling Stones, buys the house right next door. Great, but the band practices or plays loud music almost every night, and hordes of friends and fans clog up the neighborhood. The strident sounds of the music are audible throughout the whole neighborhood, and it is especially loud and annoying in your house. When the music isn’t blasting, you hear loud voices outside conversing and squabbling, followed by cheers and raucous laughter coming from those who’ve gone outside to smoke. You might have no choice, but to call the police to come and settle things down. Which they do, but then leave. In a couple of hours, the scenario is likely repeat itself, again.

That is precisely what it would be like living next to an “ugly” banquet hall, and if you think that isn’t accurate, then Google “banquet hall problems” to see why banquet halls are not just a source of public nuisance, but usually a curse for the residents around them. Banquet Halls should never be allowed in a residential neighborhood, and almost never are, except when hidden rewards are part of the deal. Like the “good” Riviera banquet facility, banquet halls are businesses that belong in a commercial business zone or industrial zone. Walworth County, in fact, calls them “wedding barns” and zones them to be only out in agricultural areas. The Town of Linn won’t even allow wedding barns in its township because of safety concerns and the other problems. An “ugly” banquet hall can be so toxic to a neighborhood that it can also be used as a weapon to torment and punish it’s neighbors.

The Geneva Inn attempted to buy essentially all the lakeshore property in Buttons Bay that they could, but were rejected multiple times by two of the neighbors: Dick Malmin and Mike Lazarroni. So in retaliation the Geneva Inn announced plans to put up an “ugly” temporary banquet hall tent within a few feet of Lazarroni’s lakeshore home. Dick Malmin’s house is on the other side, and directly across the street from three other families. This act of ””ugly” banquet hall blight, and commercialization of the residential lakeshore by the Geneva Inn, has been rejected in the Town of Linn for the past 13 years thanks to speeches, letters, emails and over 1000 petitions in opposition to the Geneva Inn’s plans. Now the owners of the Inn are turning to the City of Lake Geneva and demanding approval of banquet hall plans in exchange for annexation.

Remember, just because Lake Geneva loves its “Good” Riviera Banquet Hall, it can’t be assumed that all banquet halls will be “good” because that is definitely not the case. It’s the Riviera’s location away from any residential property that’s responsible for never hearing any complaints about noise pollution, traffic congestion, light pollution, fights, littering etc. The citizens of lake Geneva must try to recognize and empathize with their neighbors in Linn to understand the pain and distress this rezone could mean for them now, and Geneva Lake in the future. Tell Mayor Kupsik and your alderpersons to remember the second great commandment, “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” and to vote no on the Geneva Inn rezone and annexation.


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