After years of backdoor deals, closed-door discussions and dodging public responsibility, the Lake Geneva City Council is set to take a final vote Monday, November 13 on monumental proposed amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Map that would have dire – and permanent – consequences for our communities.
During a public hearing on October 16, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny the map change that would have allowed the Geneva Inn to turn surrounding residential properties into banquet facilities and add additional rooms. The Commission did, however, vote (6-2) in favor of the map change that would allow the former Hillmoor Golf Course to develop into, among other things, a subdivision – and this will be the central focus of the City Council meeting on November 13.
The City Council was expected to vote during their October 23 meeting, but for an undisclosed reason (feeling the pressure from an outraged public, perhaps???), they postponed their decision until November 13 [RSVP HERE].
The Geneva Inn map change is presumably off the table for the City Council. While they could certainly vote in favor of the change, it is highly unlikely they would go against a unanimous recommendation from the Planning Commission. HOWEVER, the amendment regarding Hillmoor is very much a threat.
The vote on November 13 will determine whether retail development is allowed within 100 feet of State Highway 50 on the property. That’s just one aspect of the extensive plan that will increase the density of population and business on Hillmoor.
Because it is marked private recreation, the Hillmoor property would need to be re-zoned as commercial to allow any development – and that is the core point of concern for us at Care for Lake Geneva, as our goal is to seek developments that offer long-term benefits for the community instead of those that serve immediate commercial interests. This new zoning breaks up the property and would permit large retail (and potential big box stores) on what is now beautiful greenspace. The environmental consequences of such development would be severe, as the Lake Geneva Conservancy has pointed out time and time again.
Commercialization of Hillmoor, just like that of the Geneva Inn property, has been a point of discussion among developers, aldermen and other city leaders for years. Concern over its future escalated in September 2016, when 11 East Partners, LLC, a Chicago-based real estate development company that specializes in mixed-use retail developments, purchased the land.
Check out our blog post from earlier this year to read more about the convoluted history of Hillmoor and the motives of its newest owners. The purchasers knew the zoning limitations associated with the property when they bought it; they understood this re-zone was necessary, and they were confident they could work with our city officials to obtain the re-zone, even if it is not in the best interest of our community.
Thank you to the thousands of lakeside and adjacent area residents who have already voiced their opposition to re-zoning beautiful property through signing petitions, directly contacting officials and attending public meetings. No doubt, the Planning Commission’s unanimous denial of the Geneva Inn amendment is a direct result of your efforts.
Your voice and presence on November 13 is critical in this fight to preserve both the quality of life for all residents and a future with responsible growth and development. Join Care for Lake Geneva and your fellow community advocates on November 13 to tell our leaders at City Hall: VOTE NO on the Hillmoor amendment!
Click here to RSVP NOW and share with your friends and family.
We also encourage you to contact our city officials directly and tell them to protect Hillmoor! Please copy Care for Lake Geneva (firstname.lastname@example.org) on your emails -- and let us know how they respond.
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As a member of this community, I support Care for Lake Geneva’s efforts in securing a bright future for Geneva Lake and its surrounding natural habitat. I recognize that we can only achieve this goal through community involvement and education. That is why I am committed to advocating for responsible land development and ensuring our elected officials hear our collective voice. By joining in this organization’s efforts, I will work to ensure this community remains a peaceful and clean habitat to be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come.