What’s going on at the Manor, located over on the city’s west side?
Well, what happened is called Ordinance 21-05. That new ordinance will assure that the old rules for development in the manor will be held to a tight tough standard. It appears that the former ordinance, only allowing for 40% development of any lot, was violated, especially recently, by allowing conditional use permits that allow for a lot more than the 40%. What happened that generated so much community interest (fifteen people from the manor appeared to speak to the council on Monday night about this new tougher ordinance)?
It seems the people who’ve received all these conditional use permits and gone well over 40% development want the old rule to now to be enforced without exception. Yes, you might have guessed by now, that ordinance, of which the second reading was passed (over Hedland’s and Flower’s disapproval) will raise their property values significantly higher than that of their neighbors. The original 60/40 rule was written back in the 1940s and it was there to make sure that runoff from ‘impervious’ surfaces like concrete, and even buildings, would not despoil the nearby lake water. The ordinance passed and the new buyers and developers win another round.
The BID (Business Improvement District) gave the contract to Topsy Turvey for the beer concession at their Octoberfest event a few days ago.
What’s wrong with that? It’s a local operation, well owned, well managed, and well run over at the corner of Geneva Street and Broad. It’s local. What’s wrong with that bid? The last time this kind of thing happened was with the Treasure Hut bid to do holiday decorations and lighting. The bid was prepared but then the board realized that the head of Treasure Hut was serving on the BID board. In order to apply and win the bid, the Treasure Hut owner resigned from the board. His firm won the bid, and that was quite okay. The problem with Topsy Turvy being selected to be the beer concession at Octoberfest is that the manager of that concern sits on the BID board. He did not resign. That’s a problem on into the future of that normally well-run operation.
This quiet progressive Lake Geneva City Council moves in deliberate tightening ways.
The city is going to have its own newsletter in order to ‘purify’ the information that gets out about what’s going on in the city government. The city is going to have a streaming video presentation running twenty-four hours a day, aimed at the Riviera and the area around it, The city pays the Lake Geneva Regional News (the city’s ‘official’ newspaper) to run food fest fairs and also pays that paper to run ads for the gala affairs celebrating whatever the city might be celebrating (the completion of the Riviera and the coming New Year are two of those).
Now the city moves to get rid of the podiums that the public has always used to speak at the city council (and other) meetings. The podiums are shoved into a back corner and disconnected. A single stalk has been erected right in the center of the council chambers, the microphone mounted so that any person speaking has his or her back to the audience and the video camera the city films all city council meetings on (those video presentations are available in real-time on local televisions).
This is purely a form of intimidation, and the city leaders have to know that. At each step these kinds of gentle and oh so well-mannered leaders of this small town seem to take lessons from what is going on in Hong Kong and throughout the rest of China. If this kind of behavior continues then what is next? A bumper sticker, maybe. It might read: “Tom Hartz…miss me yet?”