Sewer Controversy Looms Over Geneva Inn Pre-Annexation Agreement

A key issue surrounding the Geneva Inn’s proposed annexation into the city is regarding an item that holds severe ramifications for every taxpayer in Lake Geneva – a 1600-foot-long sewer pipe that connects the Inn with the city’s waste system.


Annexation proponents, including some City Council members, site the fact that Geneva Inn is already “on city sewer.” And it is, technically. But that description is deceitful.


Lake Geneva homes and businesses have large dimensional sewer pipes that collect all sewage – both solids and liquids – and deliver these directly to the city sewer system. The Geneva Inn does not have this conventional system. Instead, the Inn is tethered to the city’s sewer by a single, two inch in diameter plastic drain tube. The hotel currently uses septic systems to treat heavier wastes.


This issue raises all sorts of questions:

Is the current septic program able to handle their expansion plans?

How does The Geneva Inn’s management company plan to properly incorporate their plans?


*** To date, no specific plans have been provide to the public. 

Just requests for re-zoning & annexation ***


Clearly, more sewer capacity will be needed to accommodate the building’s 36 guest rooms, not to mention at least that many bathrooms, several whirlpool tubs and two large kitchens for the restaurant.


The Geneva Shore Report indicated that The Geneva Inn would become entitled to a city sewer system with new pipes and use of city water. Lake Geneva taxpayers would fit the bill for all of this, in addition to other city services the hotel and its accompanying businesses will require.


This raises more questions:


Does the Geneva Inn’s current waste & water disposal program even meet Lake Geneva’s city code?


If no -  is the city legally allowed to annex a property or structure into the city that does not meet code?


If yes - who is required to bring that property or structure up to code?


This would all be a little easier to swallow if the annexation request had been discussed in an open forum that encouraged public participation. Instead, the Geneva Inn and the city spent decades quietly exploring opportunities to propose a request and minimize opportunities for the community to engage with the process.


The city sewer issue has long been a topic of concern for the property. In 1989, the Geneva Inn purchased and promptly demolished the property’s former tenant, the Shore Club, without the mandatory Conditional Use Permit or a Public Hearing. The only things the Inn kept were the septic/sewer system (if you want to call it that) and a special agreement with the city. This agreement stated that the South Shore could annex into Lake Geneva if their property may ever become contiguous to the city. The agreement was made in return for allowing the installation of a drain for wastewater fluids into a shallow State Park manhole about 1600 feet away. There, the waste would combine with the park’s wastewater and go into the city sewer system.


The Geneva Inn is now attempting to exploit this questionable agreement with a former tenant, while the city does its part to keep the public in the dark. Here at Care for Lake Geneva, we recognize that if corporate greed is given headway in the city, harmful commercialization will follow at the expense of the taxpayers and our community Lake Side Charm.


Together, we can prevent commercialization attempts and protect our communities. This is why it is important that we all stay engaged and participate!


Visit the Care for Lake Geneva calendar to stay up-to-date on upcoming meetings. And if you haven’t already, please sign our petition urging city officials to turn down the annexation request.


Sign the Petition


Ways to Participate:


Help us get these questions answered! Contact your Council Members and tell us what they said.


Lake Geneva City Council:

* Be sure to include C4LG on all emails;


1st District Elizabeth Chappell – / 262-903-8035

1st District Chris Gelting – / 262-751-7109

2nd District Doug Skates – / 262-249-0091

2nd District Ted Horne – / 262-425-4366

3rd District Richard Hedlund – / 262-203-5900

3rd District Bob Kordus – / 414-916-9663

4th District Ken Howell – / 262-949-7564

4th District Cindy Flower – / 262-374-0678

Mayor Alan Kupsik – / 262-749-0842


Town of Linn

Town Chairman Jim Weiss - / 262-275-6300 ext. 16


Help us advocate on behalf of Geneva Lake