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Lake Geneva Council Passes Change Before Court Deadline

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Terry O’Neil and fellow Lake Geneva Wisconsin council members

At the Lake Geneva city council meeting on 8.22.2011 the council tried to pass an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan on the first reading. They appeared to want to do this to meet the court’s 8.31.2011 deadline for settling the Hummel Federal lawsuit. They failed.

According to a City of Lake Geneva ordinance it takes ¾ of the council to pass an ordinance on the first reading, and the complete ordinance has to be read into the public record, neither came about. So two special council meetings were called for 8.29.2011 and 8.30.2011. The villagers were out again pleading with their elected representatives  not cave in to Geneva Ridge Developer’s lawsuit. The mood of the small crowd was more somber.

Dave Williams, Attorney, Lake Geneva.”You cannot have zoning by contract. ..The real issue is if there is a settlement contingent upon the comprehensive plan being changed.”

“The settlement has existed for two months…why is the public being kept in the dark?”

“Lake Geneva’s “Business Manager, Mr. Jordan has been lobbying for this project from day one.”

Ed Yeager ,former Alderman,Lake Geneva. “When developers don’t get what they want they use cohesion and intimidation to inject fear into the hearts of their opponents. In this particular case, that tactic seems to be working.”

“As early as 2003 we told our mayors and council members and plan commissioners in no uncertain terms that we don’t want Hummelville.”

“In 2005 during the annexation they were told again we don’t want Hummelville.”

“Then there was the referendum, and 77% of our citizens responded we don’t want Hummelville. This is a sad occasion.”

Dick Malmin, political pundit, Town of Linn. “The Inconvenient Truth, ladies and gentlemen, is that this DEAL—this vote you are being forced to make to Rescue Mr. Hummel so he will drop one of the lawsuits, is now so patently obvious to everyone in this Community that this Council not only looks ridiculous, but you come across as Arrogant and Contemptuous because you’re insulting the people’s intelligence by keeping up this pretense of NO DEAL.”

“Mr. Hartz, Mrs Krohn, and Mr. O’Neil you are  doing the right thing, so I sympathize that you have to be associated with one of the most messed-up, deceitful Councils in the history of Lake Geneva. “

“Tell me, if a terrorist came to this Council in a closed session to tell you he was dumping Radioactive spent nuclear fuel waste into the lake thereby destroying the Lake and the City for the next 1000 years, would you feel obligated to keep your Closed Session– Code of Silence?  Of course not, but that’s exactly what Hummel’s doing to the City and the Lake.”

“By forcing you into Closed Session to make his DEAL—a Deal you’re about to agree to—is nothing more than BLACKMAIL,  and the rule is never give in to a blackmailer because they’ll always be back.”

“Which reminds me, Mr.(Alderman) Krause, why the hatchet job in the newspaper on (ex- Alderperson) Penny Roehrer–saying you had to vote yes to fix the changes to the Comprehensive Plan made by Ms Roehr?  Isn’t that scapegoating, Mr. Krause, and shouldn’t you know better? Shame on you. “

“Look at the July 29th 2009 Newspaper clipping I gave you.   Notice the Comprehensive Plan changes were made by the City Planner back in July 2009 based on what he says are “Public Input through the survey, vision workshops, and other public meetings.”  Nowhere does he mention Ms Roehr. That’s ridiculous, Mr. Krause. I think you owe Ms Roehrer an apology.”

“Ms. Roehr may have initiated  a discussion on changing long range urban to Exurban, but you can see from the minutes of the 12.14. 09 Council Meeting, Mr. Krause, you volunteered that you thought that was all a good idea and you encouraged your fellow Aldermen to vote for it . You voted for it that night and for all the Comprehensive Plan Changes returning the Hummel Property back to Agricultural and so did all the other Aldermen including Mr. Marcella.”

“Now you and Mr. Marcella want to wash your hands of any responsibility for the current Comprehensive Plan you voted for, so you do a flip flop. So you were FOR the Comprehensive map a year and a half ago, but now you’re against it. You were for it before you were against it. Why the change, Mr. Krause, why are you doing a flip flop?  Or were you incentivized somehow to change”

“Are you listening to the Insurance Attorneys who have successfully split-up the Council and would like nothing more than to use Ms. Roehrer as the patsy so they don’t have to pay to go to trial. Or are you listening to the City Attorney? Who hasn’t given you very good legal advice lately?  He let you make fools of yourselves last Monday by not telling you Suspension of rules takes a super majority vote and then he let you screw up the first reading so you are now forced to have 2 Special Council Meetings in a row tonight Monday to do the first reading, and a Second Special Council Meeting tomorrow, Tuesday for the 2nd reading and to vote on the DEAL. All of this rush so the Settlement can be signed on Wednesday”

“That’s not circumstantial Evidence for Contract Zoning, it’s absolute proof.  And when this goes to court, this vote you make will be illegal and the Ordinance nullified so all this conniving and scheming will be for naught, but those of you who vote yes will personally suffer the consequences of your actions in the eyes of the public for a long time to come.”

“Shelly Shepstone (Mayor at time of the property annexation) famously said the worst thing he ever did in politics was to vote for the Hummel Plan. So learn from Shelly’s mistake and don’t make the Hummel vote your worst vote too. “

On 8.30.2011 the final vote was taken with Alderman Tom Hartz making the motion to approve the change, seconded by Alderperson Kehoe. Mr. Hartz then gave the following rational for making the change to the 2009 Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan:

  • The plan we adopted contemplated there would be changes in the plan.
  • The plan identified this parcel as one ultimately to be developed.
  • This issue is an amendment to the plan; it is not an issue of zoning.
  • There is no plan in front of us; this is only an amendment to the comprehensive plan.
  • All of the previous plans presented to us by this owner and previous owners have been denied.
  • The largest number of single family home permits issued was in 2006 of 25.
  • Passing this will not raise taxes.
  • The city of Lake Geneva does not control the number of boats on the lake.
  • Passage of this plan amendment will not destroy the lake.
  • The property is currently in the Lake Geneva watershed.
  • The city does not exercise any environmental control over that property right now.
  • The current farming practices on that land involve the spreading of liquid manure.
  • The city will have zoning control.
  • Threats of lawsuits do not have an effect on what we do here.
  • What has changes since the plan was passed in 2009?
  • A number of development plans in the city have expired. The number is 621 sites left in the city, it has dropped by 44%.
  • The 120 bypass was designed to direct the growth of the city to the south. That is why it was built.
  • Construction has begun on an adjacent piece of property by another group of developers.
  • Citywide Electric has been built out there.
  • The town of Bloomfield has received permission from the State to incorporate.

Alderman O’Neil gave it one more shot. He stated the council did not follow the plan amendment procedure. “This is a major change, not a minor change.”

“Something is wrong when we live in a country of freedom of speech and press and we are threatening with legal action if we speak out. The council should not be making agreements behind closed doors.”

“What good is a fireman that does not put out a fire. What good is a representative that doesn’t represent you.”

The final vote on changing the Comprehensive Plan was:

Todd Krause: Yes

Tom Hartz:  Yes

Frank Marsala: Yes

Ellyn Kehoe:  Yes

Alan Kupsik: Yes

Bill Mott:  No

Arleen Krohn: No

Terry O’Neill: No

Between 8.22.2011 and the final vote on 8.30.2011 Tom Hartz changed his vote to a Yes, and Bill Mott changed his vote to a No.

The Israelis have a simple policy when dealing with terrorists, they do not negotiate, because that will lead to more terrorism.

 

Part 2 of 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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