Town of Bloomfield continues to seek incorporation
"It's important to incorporate," said Doug Mushel, a representative of the group seeking incorporation. "We'd like to be able to have a little more control over our own destiny."
Township residents say the incorporation is necessary to protect their borders from annexation by Lake Geneva and Genoa City as both municipalities eye the land as a potential area for growth and development.
The group filed its request last August, seeking incorporation of the 21-square-mile part of the township northeast of County H from Lake Geneva to Genoa City and including the unincorporated Pell Lake area.
A Walworth County judge found the proposal met the standards for incorporation and forwarded the petition to the Department of Administration for review.
But the city of Lake Geneva and the village of Genoa City filed motions with the court to intervene in the incorporation, saying the proposed village would eat up land they have identified as an area for growth.
Officials in the three municipalities worked for months to draw borders that would be acceptable to all parties, but they couldn't agree.
"We tried to obtain a feeling of what they expected our boundaries to be," Mushel said. "We showed them where we wanted our boundaries to be. We tried to get as much information to them so they knew … why we were looking for the boundaries we were looking for."
Officials met again, this time with an independent arbitrator, and while they were able to negotiate borders that are acceptable to all parties, they weren't able to resolve a disagreement over potential annexation requests.
The group now plans to file a new petition, seeking incorporation of an 18.5-square-mile portion of the township northeast of County H and including the Pell Lake area. The group has adjusted the borders of the proposed village to leave a "buffer zone" between the proposed village and neighboring municipalities.
People who live in the buffer zone would have three options: They could remain in the township; they could annex to the new village of Bloomfield, or they could annex to Lake Geneva or Genoa City.
That might still be a sticking point in the incorporation process, Mushel said.
"The problem during mediation was that both the city and the village wanted (people in) those buffer zones only to be allowed to annex to their respective municipalities, not to annex to the new village," he said. "They're concerned we'll create the boundaries we have now and then in a few years take over everything else."
But the group hopes the three municipalities can move past their differences and work together.
"Right now we have boundaries that in principle meet the land use plans and growth plans of both Lake Geneva and Genoa City," Mushel said. "We're all friends … and I want to make sure as we move forward that we can be cooperative as municipalities in the future."
The group expects to file a new petition in the next month or two, but it's not in any hurry.
"If this was a situation in which the economic times were different and there were developments waiting left and right to move forward, then we would have to move faster on this," Mushel said. "But we took our time, and we want to make sure as we move forward we aren't rushing anything."