THE BRIGHT SIDE
Luke and Monica Pheifer are the new owners and residents of Maxwell Mansion,
Located at 304 South Wells Street Lake Geneva. The Pheifer’s are excited about the future they envision for the historic property and, with the recently approved conditional use permit for outdoor entertainment from the city council, they are feeling optimistic that the business will grow and thrive. The property is located on Wells Street and is zoned for general business, which it has been doing for many years, even before the Pheifer’s purchases the property. With that being said, they were shocked and a bit worried when a city official, and some neighboring residents, met them with an attitude of dedicated resistance.
The first issue was drinking in outdoor spaces. If a drink is purchased inside and carried to an outdoor seating area during dinner or an event like a wedding why would that be a problem? Neighbors of the property thought it would create a loud rowdy environment. Maxwell Mansion has always been a classy establishment and nothing like a local watering hole. When this issue was politely debunked the next barrier came when the Pheifers applied for a conditional use permit for outdoor entertainment. Again, the noise and crowd issue was revisited and more resistance was felt and heard. The request was approved, however, as the business met all zoning requirements and was not asking anything that would or could be considered unusual for such a business.
The next attempt to try to sabotage the mansion’s ability to move forward was a parking issue. The Pheifer’s, and previous owners, didn’t know there was a parking issue and neither did the zoning and building department. Fred, the head of that department in Lake Geneva, didn’t have the parking layout on hand because originally the discussion was about noise and not parking. Once Fred was aware of the concern he spoke with the city attorney and zeroed in on the parking concerns. The requirement for an establishment like Maxwell Mansion is to provide one parking space per three patrons.
The space at the mansion may not accommodate that with some of the events held there, but then again it may. Not everyone who attends the events parks at the mansion, some stay at neighboring accommodations and walk to the event along with others who visit Lake Geneva and park in other areas to enjoy the city as a whole and not just come for the Maxwell event. The parking will be looked at and something will be done. If the city requires more parking the possibility of offsite parking could be considered. The outdoor entertainment was approved with the requirement that proof of adequate parking be provided.
The Pheifers are discouraged that the neighbors do not seem to present a very welcoming feeling towards them. Luke and Monica Pheifer, along with their six-year-old, live on the property and are excited to be in Lake Geneva. Luke and Monica want to live in a family-friendly neighborhood to raise their daughter and want to be a part of creating that while running a successful business.
Persons of the Week