It was the usual cat and mouse game last week in Town of Linn, with Jeff Sanders, the hired outside planner, discussing the future land use map, as citizens remained steadfast in their differing views, for well over an hour. The map was corrected to show the Geneva Inn itself as commercial property, but adjoining properties as residential. The planning for the modification of this map goes thru a critique period when everybody has the opportunity to recommend the changes they want. This is the time when the Geneva Inn can come in to ask for commercial land use on its four adjacent residential properties. The citizens who want the map to remain as it is now configured probably won’t be saying anything, but the Geneva Inn could have its way if residents are not watchful.
The rather bizarre private property person on the plan commission, Cully Pillman, will likely recommend a change to allow the Geneva Inn to change its residential property to commercial, as he did in 2003 and 2015. He objected to allowing banquet halls to be an acceptable use in farm barns two years ago, but seems perfectly happy to allow a banquet hall to be built within a few feet of a private residence (so long as it’s not next to his house). Maureen Zimmerman is the most recent appointee to the plan commission. She’s a neat intelligent woman, but seems predisposed to cave in to Cully’s bid for dominance. She may follow Cully’s lead on giving the Geneva Inn whatever it wants. Jim Weiss, Town of Linn Chairman, seems to want to maintain a cordial relationship with the Geneva Inn owners, which is understandable, but potentially damaging to the township.
In 2015 the Geneva Inn could have gotten half of the commercialization it sought, but that wasn’t good enough, so that plan proposal was withdrawn. The public hearing and final vote for Linn’s Future Land Use Map and Comprehensive Plan will take place in February and March 2018 when the fewest residents will be around. The fight to stop commercial development being extended down to the water’s edge will be a hard one, fought in the dead of winter. Hopefully, the citizens still around at that time can gather in sufficient numbers to voice an opinion that has some bite to it. In 2015, the conservancy jumped on board with the Geneva Inn with a letter from Jordan saying more traffic, noise, water, boat and air pollution was exactly what was needed in the quiet, secluded and peaceful spot known as Button’s Bay on Geneva Lake. This year the conservancy took a stronger position against the commercialization of the residential property around the Geneva Inn. There may be hope to stop these developers, but the citizens are going to have to show up to make that happen.