Statement for the City of Lake Geneva Plan Commission Public Hearing, October 16, 2017
The Geneva Lake Conservancy opposes the amendment of the current City of Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan relative to a change in the six (6) parcels known as the Geneva Inn parcels (currently within the Town of Linn) from their existing defined uses to all parcels being categorized as Planned Mixed Use. A change of these parcels to Planned Mixed Use, with its ensuing development, would:
- Forever alter the nature of the shorefront properties and expand commercialization of the lakefront
- Be detrimental to public welfare and safety, including (a) impacting the surrounding areas with an unusual volume or character of traffic and (b) damage or nuisance arising from noise or illumination
- Irretrievably harm the environment, particularly that of Geneva Lake, by adding:
—Increased noise pollution, particularly in the evening when residents and wildlife require peace and quiet. The proposed amendment could allow for wedding venues or other large events with accompanying noise from music, crowds, boaters, cars and large celebrations, which would spill out into parking areas and the shore path.
—Increased lake pollution from large footprints for commercial buildings and parking areas decreasing permeable surfaces and significantly increasing polluted runoff into the lake. The loss of permeable surface created by commercial development will increase flooding and prevent natural filtration. Litter, including bottles and cans, from hundreds of additional people using this area, will find its way into the lake, as will motor oil and other runoff from large parking areas. Construction will add runoff, including silt, chemicals and other pollutants to the lake.
—Increased pollution from boat and car traffic and density –This area of less than one square mile is already saturated with more boat and car traffic than it can accommodate. The proposed planned mixed use development will add hundreds of cars and people to the area each day, increasing the risk of pedestrian and car accidents and the need for police and rescue services.
—Increased light pollution from additional lighting required for safety and traffic purposes and for any new buildings, detrimental to wildlife, nearby residents and local dark sky initiatives.
—Increased surrounding development –The proposed amendment paves the way for sewage hook-up to the City of Lake Geneva sewage system, which would encourage denser development of surrounding parcels that would further degrade Geneva Lake, its watershed and the open lands that now protect the lake.
The proposed intent of an amended Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan to change the six parcels to Planned Mixed Use, which would appear to only be accomplished through an annexation of the parcels by the City of Lake Geneva, appears shortsighted and lacks a sense of responsibility to the need to protect the environment and shows no understanding of the nature and character of this corner of the lake. This amendment violates the principles of best planning practices regarding community growth and commercial development. This is poor planning period!
Approved by the Geneva Lake Conservancy Board of Directors
October 14, 2017