Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva recently conducted a community survey as part of it’s Smart Growth planning process. The primary findings where that an overwhelming majority feel environmental factors like air, the lake, rivers, streams, and forests are very important to preserve.

Major findings of the survey were that:

  • Citizen participation and communication between citizens and is very important for almost 100% of all respondents.
  • The majority, 58.1%, want slower or no growth.
  • The quality of life because of the growth over the last 5-10 years declined for 34.2% of residents, remained the same for 23.0% and improved for 24.5%.
  • The largest group (34.2%) reported that the rate of development and traffic were the factors connected to the decline in the quality of life.
  • The smaller group (24.5%) that reported and improvement in quality of life reported it was due to the availability of shopping.
  • An overwhelming majority (68.3%) thinks that adequate shopping opportunities exist.
  • Job opportunities are inadequate for 49.7% of survey participants.
  • Lake Geneva has adequate supply of housing says 46.3%.

Future planning the citizen survey showed should do the following:

1.       Preserve and enhance the downtown and lakefront.

2.       Provide community services and facilities

3.       Improve traffic, parking, and other forms of transportation i.e. biking.

4.       Protect and enhance the environment.

5.       Play well with others, i.e. surrounding towns and Walworth Co.

6.       Redevelopment of older areas of the city.

7.       The respondents where not in favor of annexing for any purpose and new housing development.

The types of developments Lake Genevains are in favor of are:

1.       Entertainment and art

2.       Health care

3.       Restaurants and retail shopping

4.       Technology and research

5.       Educational

The types of development Lake Geneva residents are opposed to are:

1.       Food processing and agri-business. i.e. Ethanol plants

2.       Warehousing and distribution

3.       Churches and religious institutions

4.       Industrial and manufacturing

5.       Hotels and resorts.

The survey was sent out to all property owners in City of Lake Geneva and was multiple choice. One section of the survey allowed respondents to write in other factors they were concerned about future growth. The top six written in concerns where:
1. No/slow growth

2. Small town charm

3. More parking

4. City government – negative

5. Traffic

6. More citizen participation

Survey consultant Dr. Martin H. Smith’s Ph.D. final Comprehensive Planning Survey report: lake-geneva-comprehensive-planning-survey-report



  1. Make sure to take time and go to the Smart Growth Scenario Open House, Tues March 10 from 4:30-7:30 pm at City Hall. This is an opportunity to pick a map which best tries to represent your ideas about growth and development in the region. The best part is that you can pick Scenario X, and make your own map if you want. Let your opinion be heard and read.

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