The Bright Side
Bob’s revolt against convention, ordinance, and the law in Lake Geneva.
Everyone seems to love Bob. Bob runs his beachwear shop on Broad Street, just up from Speedos, and right next to the alley. Lately, Bob has taken to put chairs out in front of his shop, along with hanging some of his goods from his awning. The city has taken note of these changes and has threatened to fine Bob for violations of the storefront appearance ordinances enacted years ago when some unscrupulous shop owners came to town and plastered signs, products and all sorts of junk across the fronts of their stores and out to the curb. The ordinances enacted ended that developing mess. Everyone loves Bob, and the city is even talking about easing up on the rather onerous rules, but until that time, everyone has to follow those rules or chaos will result. Sorry, Bob. We love you too.
The Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan.
This plan was not intended to be a plan made by the plan commission nor the city council. It was intended to be a community based plan made by the residents, and approved by the city council for the specific purpose of bringing citizen control and organization to the city’s future development by limiting the actions of future plan commissions and city councils to that plan with the authority of the comprehensive plan enabling them to do that. Without the comprehensive plan, zoning and zoning changes become almost arbitrary and subject to influence, favoritism, bribery, and corruption.
With the recent changes in July 2018 to the issuing of conditional use permits, the land use restrictions of the comprehensive plan have become the primary tool by which future development can be controlled. The comprehensive plan by-laws must be updated every 10 years. This year is the year for the City of Lake Geneva to update its plan. The primary purpose of this update is to alter or adjust the future map, which is the city’s vision/plan for its future. One change to the city’s comprehensive plan that residents should support is: ‘All amendments that make changes to the future map of the comprehensive plan require an approved referendum by the electorate (residents) and a two-thirds vote of the city council.’
This amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan would require both resident approval and city council approval to make changes to, and only to, the future map which is the city’s plan for its future. There are state, federal and constitutional laws that limit the city council’s actions, but other than this proposed amendment, there are no actions that the residents can take to limit the actions of the city council, except direct legislation which is difficult to do, limited in scope, and can be overridden by the city council after two years. The City Council of Lake Geneva has already gone to direct legislation that limited the amount that the city could spend on a capital project without an approved referendum. The key to the success of our government is the restraints on our government that specify what it cannot do, what it can do and the procedure by which things must be done. The comprehensive plan is that limit and that procedure.
First, the zoning on the current map limits what the city can do and approve without changing the comprehensive plan. The future map says the direction the city wants to go, and it opens the way for the city council to approve changes to that zoning if the owner (or new owner) wants to change it. To alter the future map is to alter the direction of the city and that is where the approval of residents of the city (which is the city) needs to be required before the city council can alter the city’s direction. Few things, other than the lake itself, can have a greater influence on the City of Lake Geneva’s future than the city’s comprehensive plan.
Be involved and take an active part in this coming ten-year update.
American Legion Fish Boil