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Council may act quick on Mirbeau development

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Kayla Bunge
December 8, 2007

Rumors are swirling.


Will the Lake Geneva City Council suspend the rules and vote on the proposed Mirbeau-Hummel development at its meeting Monday night?


Or will it follow protocol and wait until mid-January to vote?


The city council will have a first reading of the rezone ordinance, which includes the general development plan, at its meeting Monday night. It will have a second reading at its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 14.


City code states zoning ordinances must go through two readings before action is taken. The readings are typically conducted at separate city council meetings, City Attorney Berwyn Braden said.


But the city council could vote to suspend the rules to forego the second reading and immediately vote on the rezone and general plan, City Clerk Diana Dykstra said. A reason for the suspension must be stated, and a two-thirds vote is required.


Braden said expediency would be an acceptable reason.


The mayor, as chairman of the city council, has the authority to deem a reason invalid, and his ruling is subject to appeal by the council.


“After I hear their argument, I’ll make my decision,” Mayor Sheldon Shepstone said. “I don’t know what they’re going to say is the emergency.”


The plan commission voted 4-3 in favor of the rezone and general plan Nov. 27. The city’s zoning code requires a supermajority of five votes for the city council to overturn that recommendation. The mayor can only vote if there’s a tie.


Dykstra said the council has other options, such as tabling the first reading or putting the ordinance to a non-binding referendum. The city has already received two requests from aldermen to put the ordinance to referendum, she said.


“There are so many rumors going around,” Dykstra said. “I can’t even predict what they’re going to do.”


If the city council gives the Mirbeau-Hummel development the go-ahead, the developer will need to draft precise implementation plans for each phase of the development. Each plan will need approval from the plan commission and the city council.



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