Parking lot approval would open floodgates, according to former city alderperson and Geneva Shore Reporter Terry O’Neill:
“On July 20, I spoke to this Committee about the School Board’s parking lot request. I listed the facts. Building this parking lot requires a Comprehensive Plan change, a zoning change, and 10 exemptions to those zoning laws of which some involve safety issues. I also pointed out, that this committee is charged with treating all requests the same, regardless of the individual or group requesting it. But it has become obvious that those driving this issue forward are ignoring these facts, in their rush to receive approval by a dead line. When the pressure to meet a deadline is the driving force behind an issue, it leads to mistakes and errors in judgment. This type of error occurred in the annexing of the Hummel Property; in the passing of the Comprehensive Plan to meet a deadline; in changing the Comprehensive Plan by an August date to settle the law suit with Geneva Ridge, and in the rushed illegal purchase of the WE Energies Property to skirt their property taxes and meet the deadline requirement to receive the $600,000 grant from Ryan Corporation.
The biggest errors in judgment are made when one is pressured into making a quick decision, or the opportunity will be lost. It doesn’t matter if the quick forced decision is at a used car dealership, or here at city hall. Quick forced decisions are prone to errors. But there is a difference. When you make a decision at a used car dealership, then you are responsible for, and live with, your decision. Whereas, at city hall you are responsible for the decisions, but we the citizens live with the consequences of your decisions. If you approve this parking lot plan with its ‘single parcel change’ to the Comprehensive Plan, and a ‘zoning change’ with several safety exemptions, then you will have opened the flood gates to mega-million-dollar law suits from any developer whose development request is denied. Because this approval will have violated virtually every legitimate, legal reason for rejecting a request including public opposition, and public safety.”
The City Council of Lake Geneva met, and spearheaded by Lake Geneva’s Gumby mayor (acting more like Benito Mussolini) reviewed the parking lot proposal, with all its nine exceptions to every ordinance and current rule, and passed it handily.
Forget the impact on the historical preservation neighborhood when one of its homes is destroyed to accommodate this lot. The City of Lake Geneva, and now the head of the school board, James Gottinger (God, for short), managed to push through more parking. The bitter taste of the council’s defeat with respect to the failed parking structure last year, keeps getting spit right back in the public’s face. The school board somehow found a couple of million dollars to build this parking lot, just like they found a couple of million dollars a few years ago to build a completely unnecessary new gymnasium and library. The only thing they can’t do is find any more money for teachers. With cars becoming smarter all the time maybe it’s not necessary. The kids can simply go out to the parking lots and learn all they need to know, from comfortable ensconced vehicles.
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