The Fight to Protect Buttons Bay is Not Over

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Brian Pollard's ambiguous plan to build a private clubhouse on Buttons Bay for residents of the Symphony Bay Development is inching closer to reality.

Earlier this summer, the Walworth County Zoning Agency voted 5-2 to approve Mr. Pollard’s request for a conditional use permit to operate a resort destination on Buttons Bay. Several community members spoke in opposition to the proposal during the public meeting, but they were all cut off before finishing their testimonies. County Board Supervisor David Weber was the only Zoning Agency member to voice his concern and was joined by Jerry Grant as the lone two “No” votes.  

This of course came after the Town of Linn Plan Commission approved the permit request in April, as the Commission demonstrated a complete disregard for public concern (More than 200 community members signed our petition to Linn's leaders urging them to deny the request, and several individuals contacted Commission members personally). This all fell on deaf ears, and with the DNR under direction of conservative Governor Scott Walker, we cannot expect the historically environmentally-conscious department to intervene to protect Geneva Lake’s delicate ecosystem. The only thing that could deny Mr. Pollard the conditional permit now is legal action.

We collected more than 120 signatures on our letter to the Geneva Lake Association (GLA) requesting they help stop this dangerous plan. The GLA has consistently stood up to protect Geneva Lake and our lakeside communities from destructive commercialization, as they did in protecting and preserving the Geneva Lake Shorepath last year against the Muck-Suck Race. In addition to signing our letter, several community members recently contacted the GLA directly with the plea to help stop Pollard's plan.

It is of our opinion that Mr. Pollard's ambiguous plan is much more alarming than the Muck-Suck Race, which made it frustrating to hear that the GLA never even informed their members of this issue, let alone that they will likely not pursue legal action against Walworth County to protect Buttons Bay -- but our fight is not over!

We encourage residents, neighbors and all who care about the future of Geneva Lake to submit a Letter to the Editor of area papers and contact local T.V. stations. The more people learn about this issue, the more likely they are to oppose it! Below are some key points to include in your Letter to the Editor or correspondence with a local station. 

  • The clubhouse will serve no benefit to our community, as it is for private use only;
  • The quick increase of boat traffic poses immediate environmental threat to Geneva Lake’s delicate ecosystem, particularly the already-endangered White Fish;
  • The clubhouse will increase density by Big Foot Beach State Park that is already over saturated, further preventing residents from enjoying their own neighborhood;
  • Approval of the permit sets a precedent for exploiting lake-front businesses to create lake access for off-site developments, leading to more commercialization of our community.

There is simply no more room to add boats nor swimmers onto Big Foot Beach - it was so congested during the 4th of July weekend, police were forced to direct cars and pedestrians in the area. Yet, Mr. Pollard is inviting more than 400 more families and their friends to join the party. This presents serious safety concerns, harms the environment and places unnecessary strain on our local first responders. We can still stop this!

Below are some local outlets that publish Letters to the Editor. Included are links to the online submission page:

We also encourage all members of the Geneva Lake Association to let us know if you heard anything about this ambiguous plan from association leadership. If you did not, please remind them this is a dire issue that creates serious consequences for the Geneva Lake community.

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