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1999-07-20
Lake Geneva, WI. Welcome to Lake Depot.

Last year, the city of Lake Geneva imposed a one year moratorium to revise its zoning code to requires projects greater than 50,000 s.f. to obtain a conditional use permit. Along comes Home Depot with plans for a 124,000 s.f. orange-stripped store squatting on 24 acres of land. The Depot chose a piece of real estate that sits on the outskirts of this tourist resort town of 6,000 people. According to sprawl-busters in Lake Geneva, several city council members say 'people they have talked to' want the Home Depot project. The site plan has not yet been reviewed or approved by the city's Plan Commission, which will then pass it on to the City Council. The Mayor of Lake Geneva has suggested a non-binding referendum for September of October, asking the citizens of the city if they favor this kind of development. Some Council members have said they would like the referendum to be non-specific and not mention the company some people call "Agent Orange". Home Depot, which spent nearly half a million on one referendum question recently in Toledo, OH, will certainly not be overly concerned about a referendum. Such voter questions cost money, but otherwise are not an impediment. If the project is built, it will be in an area that not only serves as the primary entrance to the city, but one that already is congested with traffic, across the highway from a Wal-Mart. The Home Depot would also abut a golf course. One local resident contacted Home Depot's Investor Relations Department, and was told that it takes about 50,000 to 60,000 "homes" in a trade area to support a Home Depot. The entire county surrounding Lake Geneva has only half the population needed to support Home Depot.

What you can do: If Home Depot is allowed to locate in Lake Geneva, perhaps City Fathers would be willing to hold a second referendum to change the name of the city from Lake Geneva to Lake Depot, because that's what tourists coming in on Routes 12 and 50 would see: two big box stores, and no lake. For local contacts in Lake Geneva, email sprawl-busters at info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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