The Revision of Linn Has Begun

It has been an eventful autumn in Lake Geneva.

On Tuesday, September 27th, The Town of Linn’s Board of Supervisors began the revision process for the Town of Linn Comprehensive Plan and Map. The board has since hired Jeff Sanders, owner/operator of Community Planning and Consulting, LLC  to facilitate this process. Mr. Sanders plans to have a community wide survey mailed out in November with a return date before the end of 2016. He will work with Linn’s planning commission without a public representative, which is a different approach from Linn’s previous revisions processes. He did note there will be around 5 public meetings to gather community input. 

In July, the town board hired Green Bay-based Community Planning and Consulting for an approximate $18,957 to assist in the review of the Comprehensive Plan, which has not been changed since 2004. A key issue the board will consider is the rezoning of residential lakeshore property adjacent to the Geneva Inn as commercial. Last year, the Linn Planning Commission recommended this map change to allow Geneva Inn’s expansion. It was rejected by the Town Board, although only by a technicality, and it’s unclear whether or not the Board would accept such a recommendation this year.

You may remember that Care for Lake Geneva and hundreds of residents from the Town of Linn and around Geneva Lake have taken a unified position that these properties should remain residentially zoned because further commercialization of lakeshore properties is not in the best interest of Geneva Lake or the surrounding communities. 

For the last 12 years, the owners of The Geneva Inn have attempted to further commercialize lakeside properties in Buttons Bay. In 2004, after purchasing a number of properties adjacent to their existing facility, The Geneva Inn made its first request of the Town of Linn to rezone these lakeshore properties. The owner/operators neglected to submit redevelopment plans or share with the board or the public their intended use of these properties. With over 400 letters and petition signatures opposing the rezone request, community residents stood firm in opposition. The Inn’s requests were denied.

In 2015, a second attempt was made to rezone these same properties. Again, no plans presented or intended use discussed.  And again, over 400 residents voiced their opposition to rezoning residentially zoned lakeshore property, citing this type of land use is in direct conflict of current community and county comprehensive plans and falls outside the vision set forth in The Covenant, the first Comprehensive Plan of Geneva Lake communities.

Despite overwhelming opposition, the Linn Planning Commission recommended this map change to allow Geneva Inn’s expansion. It was rejected by the Town Board, although only by a technicality.

As we approach this next step, it important to remember that community involvement and education is crucial. Engagement with the Town Board is particularly important because it is through civic participation that we help shape the future of Geneva Lake. Together, we can create an alternative development plan that respects the careful instructions from Lake Geneva’s founders in The Covenant and that also secures a bright future for our community.

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