Sober home in village requires more planning

Building on Fredonia Avenue is well-suited for the facility, but owner must go through multi-step process
Ozaukee Press staff

A sober home proposed for a former daycare facility in Fredonia has a long way to go before being considered by the village. 

In early March, Port Washington resident Scott Brammer presented plans for establishing a sober home at 111 Fredonia Ave., but when the proposal came before the Plan Commission on April 4, it became clear that a great deal of planning must be completed before the plan is seriously considered. 

Brammer said before moving forward he will have to complete a number of steps like drafting a business plan, forming a board of directors with representatives from area health agencies and nonprofits and collecting information on the need of a sober home in Fredonia. 

About 12 village residents attended the meeting hoping to have questions and concerns addressed by Brammer, but he said he would have to prepare more before properly presenting the project. 

“I am not prepared to really answer any questions on this and I apologize for that,” he said. 

Preliminary plans Brammer presented were to renovate the 7,000-square-foot former day-care facility into a sober home for women who’ve completed the 12-step recovery program for opiate addiction. The sober home would offer the women a temporary home while reintegrating into society as drug-free citizens without returning to environments in which they used drugs. 

“A triggering factor for relapse is going back to the environment that they came from,” Brammer said. 

A contractor, Brammer said he has no experience managing a sober home and has never been an addict himself, but was inspired to start the home after losing friends to addiction. 

“I myself have lost two or three people to this addiction and I want to see what I can do toward that,” he said. 

Brammer said the five-bathroom building is well suited for the sober home and could accommodate 12 to 13 bedrooms. He added that if approved to operate the home, he would make substantial renovations to the now vacant “gateway” property near an entrance of the village.

While Brammer was unable to answer many questions, residents were still given the opportunity to express concerns about the sober home.

Residents questioned if Fredonia would be the best location for the sober home, and suggested that a feasibility study be done to determine the best location for such a facility.

Caralee Jacque, a neighbor of the former day-care facility who shares a driveway with the building said she was displeased that she had not been approached with plans for the sober home prior to the meeting.

“I have a lot of concerns and it would have been nice to hear about it before this hearing,” she said.

She said she wants to ensure the sober home would have the proper backing from the Ozaukee Human Services Department and other agencies before opening.

Jacque said she has also experienced issues with former businesses using the location regarding her driveway. She said business patrons would regularly use her portion of the driveway to exit, causing traffic in front of her home and creating the risk of property damage from vehicles.

“There’s a lot of things operating-wise to ensure our property is not damaged,” she said.

Jacque added that she is also in support of a feasibility study of a sober home.

Village Marshal Mike Davel said the concerns put forth by residents were valid and that they should be addressed in the conditional use permit along with other information to ensure the facility operates safely.

Village President Don Dohrwardt said Brammer still has a great deal of information to gather and agencies to meet with before moving forward with the project, and that it may be six months to a year before Brammer may be ready to reapply.

He added that studies are commonplace for facilities like sober homes because they often work with people in vulnerable situations where they need proper guidance.

“I would imagine it’s going to take quite a while to get all the ducks in a row to get to a point where we can hold a public hearing and people can ask questions and be satisfied,” Dohrwardt said.

Dohrwardt encouraged Brammer to do his due diligence research and come back to the Plan Commission with a plan that would ensure the facility is a success and an asset to the village.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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