Surprising Stuff

Ever see railroad tracks being laid?
It is quite an amazing sight.  The many units of complex machinery and materials required is surprisingly impressive. This GSR reporter had an opportunity to watch the mainline tracks that runs through the east side of Walworth being replaced.  We are not exactly sure how old the former track is, but one would imagine the track could last indefinitely and it was probable that the ground and bridges would deteriorate before the long cold steel track ever would.  This project is quite extensive but has not caused any road closings or detours thus far.  This team of railroad workers, who at times look more like a chain gang swinging their sledgehammers and picks, are as impressive as the equipment they are running.

I can’t help but think of the song, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. Dawn Grandon, GSR Reporter.


“Working on the Railroad”

Working on Rail Road

I’ve been working on the railroad
All the livelong day
I’ve been working on the railroad
Just to pass the time away…


Short term rentals.
The City council passed a Short-Term Rental Ordinance 18-3 on May 14th, 2018. On the surface it says that Short-Term Rentals are permitted by right in all zoning districts, however, the required details imposed on Short-Term Rentals inhibit them and make them financially unprofitable. On May 29th the city’s intentions became obvious when the city council updated the fee schedule and imposed an additional yearly $2,000 license fee on Short-Term Rentals.

The city is not just regulating Shot-Term Rentals, they are, for all intents and purposes, financially banning them by making them not profitable. Short-Term Rentals have the same requirements as Hotels, Motels and Bed and Breakfasts for fire inspection, building inspection, permits, Department of Revenue seller’s permit, $10 room tax license and a $25 business license. But that is where the similarity ends.

Short-Term Rental Property has 30 additional restrictions and requirement.

These include:

  • prohibiting any signage except the street address and stating there should be no evidence of the property being used as a Tourist rooming house visible on the exterior of the subject property aside from a changing mix of guest and their vehicles.
  • No outdoor activity shall occur between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 am.
  • There is also a one-time county fee of $300, and a $100 yearly county fee for Short-Term Rentals.

The last listed restriction is the revoking the Short-Term License for more than two violations of requirements of the license, requirements specific to Tourist Rooming Houses, the License or the remainder of the Zoning Code. Although inhibiting, there are some justifications for most of the restrictions on Short-Term Rentals, but what was/is the city’s justification for imposing the $2,000 annual Short-Term Rental license fee?

Who wrote this Ordinance and recommended the $2,000 annual license, the Hotel, Motel and Lodging Association? What is also not clear with the $2,000 rental license is, if it is required for every location or if a designated operator can be licensed to operate multiple locations with one license, which would be a motive for the high fee, thus making it unprofitable for individuals but profitable for a real estate agent or agency.

Person of the Week

Robin Szymkowski Lake Geneva

Robin Szymkowski has been a service writer for mechanical and collision for Geneva Automotive and part of their team for a year and a half . She is simply fantastic, and truly a specialist there to help.

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