Symphony Bay – Town of Linn Plan Commission Public Hearing, March 20, 2018

Statement to the Town of Linn Public Hearing, March 20, 2018.

The Geneva Lake Conservancy opposes the conditional use permit requested by Brian Pollard for a lodge for residents of the Symphony Bay development to be built on Town of Linn property with 93 feet of shoreline in Buttons Bay.

This property will eventually serve residents from the more than 350 units from the Symphony Bay development located off the lake in Lake Geneva.   While the initial development he is proposing is permissible under the current commercial zoning for the site, we are concerned about the properties long-term connection to Symphony Bay and the potential for a quasi- marina allowing boat traffic to grow, creating larger safety and environmental issues.

Approval of this permit would set a precedent for using lakefront businesses to create private lake access for off-lake multi-unit developments.   Unlike homeowner’s associations on the lake where individual homes are near or adjacent to lakefront access, this lodge would provide private access to hundreds of residents who have no direct ties to the lake.   Unlike other private clubs where golf or sailing is the focus and the amount of lakefront is larger, the only focus of this lodge is lake access.  The site with its single pier and 14 boats slips is too small to provide access for this use. It would be like taking all the residents in Williams Bay’s Cedar Point Park, which has approximately 350 houses, five lakefront parks and eight piers, and “funneling” them all to only one pier and 93 feet of shoreline to access the lake.

In addition, the proposed lodge will increase density by Big Foot State Park that is already over saturated with traffic, boats and visitors, preventing area residents who have been there for years from enjoying their residential neighborhood.

Approving this permit would create significant harm to the lake environment by:

Damaging wetlands on the property, that are essential for flood control and water filtration.   While we applaud Mr. Pollard’s efforts to work with Walworth County to meet all regulatory requirements regarding these wetlands, they will be compromised by litter and runoff from the parking lot.

Increasing noise pollution, particularly in the evening when residents and wildlife require peace and quiet and the lodge could be packed with hundreds of people.

Increased lake pollution from the large lodge footprint and 60 parking areas.   We ask that any parking built on this site be of permeable surfaces to decrease polluted runoff into the lake.

Increased light pollution from additional lighting required for safety and traffic purposes and for the new building.

Increased in-out boat density–The proposed permit will create additional opportunities for boats to be rented by the hour, adding consistent boat noise and pollution to this already overcrowded boating area.

The proposed conditional use permit request would provide private lake access in a way that was never intended and would be detrimental to the lake, the environment and the area’s residents.

We are asking the Town of Linn to deny this permit. Our elected officials must first protect existing property owners from the significant safety and environmental concerns that this lodge would create. The Town of Linn also needs to ensure that those businesses with existing conditional use permits are monitored annually and that they are complying with all the conditions required.   We also ask that Town of Linn officials ensure that all contamination from underground gas tanks used by the previous owner in the 1990s has been addressed before granting this permit.

Most important, we ask you to deny this permit to protect our most important asset – the lake itself –which is already severely stressed from overdevelopment along its shores.  Thank you.


Approved by the Geneva Lake Conservancy’s Board of Directors.