Plan for facility for adults with autism returns

Developer who received permits in 2020 but didn’t proceed with project is reapplying for permission to construct six-building campus on 6.5 acres
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton Plan Commission will once again consider plans for a residential facility for adults with autism during its April 26 meeting.

Permits were approved to build the Woodside Prairie facility in spring 2020, but no construction occurred for a year following their issuance — requiring the developers to obtain new permits before beginning work.

The facility is to be built on a 6.5-acre undeveloped parcel north of Hunters Lane between Iriquois Avenue and Port Washington Road in the Hunter’s Crossing neighborhood.

The development, proposed by Rebecca and Alan Goldman, would be made up of four six-bedroom buildings and two four-bedroom buildings for a total of six buildings capable of housing 40 residents.

The six-bedroom buildings would include a bedroom and bathroom for each adult and a shared living room and kitchen. The four-bedroom buildings would have two-bedroom apartments, each with a living room, kitchen and a one-car attached garage. The total floor area in the buildings would be 40,590 square feet.

The facility was originally intended to house adults with autism and college student managers from Concordia University, but a new funding source for the project means the apartments would be open to the public.

Michael Carlson of Impact Seven, a nonprofit agency working on the project, said no work was completed on the development following approval in 2020 because of a lack of funding.

This summer though, Carlson said, the project secured funding through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority’s low-income housing tax credit program.

To be eligible for the funding, Carlson said, the facility must be open to members of the public in addition to adults with autism and student managers.

While the site plan and other details of the project are nearly identical to the plan approved in 2020, Plan Commission members said on March 22 that the change in who will reside in the facility calls for additional consideration by village staff members.

Village President Jim Brunnquell said the fact members of the public would be allowed to live in the facility would require the development to be zoned for multi-family housing rather than the institutional uses, as listed on the commission agenda.

“That little piece of information really identifies this as a multifamily type component,” he said.

Because the agenda listed the incorrect zoning, Brunnquell said, the Plan Commission should not move forward with a vote. Instead, he proposed tabling action and giving village staff members time to find an allowable use for the proposed development under multifamily zoning.

Brunnquell said he does not oppose the development but wants to ensure it meets village requirements.

“What you’re trying to accomplish is admirable. The changes that are being requested are more technical,” he told Rebecca Goldman.

Goldman said the main goal of the facility is to provide adults with autism the chance to have their own residencies and live full lives, and having members of the public in the same development would enrich their interactions and experiences.




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