The Geneva Inn withdraws.
Unlike the Chicago developers, White River Holdings LLC., the local guys took it in the butt last Monday night. The Plan Commission decided on that night to allow the Chicago money (even though the former CEO of that Chicago crowd is in prison) to do whatever they want with seven hundred prime acres of Lake Geneva real estate, but told the Geneva Inn, in a six to two vote, to go pound sand, get lost, or maybe just spin. The Geneva Inn owners could have appealed their case for development of their small lot on the lake, but they, feeling that the wind was much more in favor of giving the place away to Chicago types, decided to pull their appeal. The council seldom overrules a six to two vote by the very people they appointed to the commission, so it was probably a wise move. Now the Geneva Inn takes its fight for a comprehensive plan change back to Town of Linn, where it didn’t have any success, the last time it tried. Town of Linn is not predisposed to allow commercial development down to the water, anywhere, on any of the properties under its management and authority.
The Monday City Council Meeting was full and raucous.
Mr. Paul Fitzpatrick gave another shorter presentation about why his company, owning Hillmoor, should be allowed to build high density residences and businesses on the property. Amazingly, he was followed by Dick Malmin, a resident of Town of Linn and known Lake Geneva activist, who associated him with his recently fallen boss, named Larry Freed. Freed got into trouble in Illinois running the same company Fitzpatrick now runs. In America, the “sins of the father are not normally visited upon the son.” But Malmin didn’t care about either that tradition or what the homily implies.
Although Mr. Fitzpatrick’s company has lost some of its projects, and failed at others, what development business in the United States over the past ten years has not? Mr. Fitzpatrick has no criminal history, and the company he runs has not been accused of crimes or unethical behavior by any investigative agency. Hank Sibbing, the Lake Geneva Municipal Judge, spoke at the city council meeting. He, as every other speaker, was opposed to the proposed change in the comprehensive plan. Judge Sibbing said, after being part of the effort to save Hillmoor Golf Course ten years earlier, that he still hears the tract of land calling to him: “Save me, save me.” His short speech about his willingness to do anything to save this tract of land from high density development resounded through the room and he received a standing ovation for his short oration.