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Hebron House Director 'Disappointed' With Apartment Building Delays

Bernie Juno, executive director of non-profit housing organization, was surprised with opposition to apartment building proposal on Summit Ave. Mayor Jeff Scrima spoke out against the buildings, saying it would set "bad precedent."

Bernie Juno, executive director for was "disappointed" to learn the Waukesha Plan Commission held off on approving the housing organization’s plans for one-bedroom apartments at 620 Summit Ave.

The two four-unit apartments are designed for single individuals who have demonstrated they have the independence to live on their own. Hebron House of Hospitality, which helps keep homeless families, men and women off the streets, views the apartments as a permanent housing solution.

“I am pretty surprised at the outcome,” said Juno, who was not present at the meeting Wednesday night where the decision was made.

Hebron House first brought forward plans for the apartments, which The Business Journal described as “for people with disabilities,” in January 2010. The plans were scaled back after Hebron House listened to objections from the neighbors and took part in meetings with Alderman Joe Pieper.

Hebron House was pleased to offer affordable housing with support services, said Juno, who shied away from labeling its residents as being disabled.

“They are all people who have pretty much proved they can live independently and can be participating members of society,” said Juno. “This is permanent housing. It does carry with it a lot of support serves from Hebron House to make sure if people do have issues or do start having needs that they might not be able to address on their own, we can help them.”

Despite making changes to the two-year-old plans, the proposal was delayed Wednesday night when the Plan Commission reviewed the plans. City staff brought up the need for additional landscaping or fencing, but the revised plans for the ranch-style apartments did not please Mayor Jeff Scrima, who chairs the commission.

“We are trying to squish in two four-family (homes) on a street that is full of older single family (homes),” Scrima said.

Scrima was unhappy that street elevation photos were not included in the presentation, that there wasn’t a good drawing of the front elevations of the front elevation and that not all the neighbors were notified.

Doug Koehler, a planner for the city, clarified that neighbor notification is not required for the project unless there was a request for a zoning code change or if the apartments required a conditional-use permit.

Still, Scrima said the apartments fit in with the neighborhood.

“We would be setting, in my opinion, bad precedence if we were to approve this tonight,” Scrima said.

Commissioner Kevin Larson disagreed with Scrima’s comments, saying he wouldn’t expect notifications go out to the neighbors.

Pieper, who does not serve on the commission, said area neighbors were much happier with the development, especially since is proposed to be single-story.

“I believe the design does fit better into the neighborhood,” Pieper said.

clearthinker August 24, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Well, finally an apartment project that the mayor DOES NOT like!
John Gefesser August 24, 2012 at 04:17 PM
We have more than enough low income and assisted living places in the city. Look at the G.I.S. plot of all the property owned by the Housing Authority. Don't even try to sell me on we need more housing built , use all the empty ones that we have standing vacant and attracting problems. This is getting obnoxious with more and more people coming in from out of the City to take advantage of these shelters and facilities. If they are built they should be used for those who live and have lived in the City not transients who are coming here to bring their problems to a new location.
Pennyluhu August 24, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Gee, John G, would those "transients" have skin color that differs from yours? That comment is straight out of the 60's when people didn't want the "coloreds" heading west with all "their problems". Have you looked at a calendar lately? As someone who volunteers with the homeless and one who is barely hanging by a thread myself, I can say the problem of being able to EARN the benefits is what really needs to be addressed. Low-income housing needs will always increase until we can annihilate this attitude of entitlement which leads to increased dependence. When you can go to one of Waukesha's daily free meal sites and watch about 25% of clients leaving 30% of the meal on their plates it's pathetic. But then there's a Metro lift, full-size bus that will make 2 trips from the same apartment complex and back and forth to these meals fir 2 different people. There's somethong wrong that they can't coordinate these rides better. Of course most of the riders don't try to help either.
Jason J August 24, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Wow Penny just jump right on the race card there. I see John is not scared to post his full name unlike you. I also do not see any hint of skin color in his post. Why don't you go hop on the race train elsewhere. Waukesha has enough problems without you throwing out racist accusations about every little comment.
Sonia August 24, 2012 at 09:22 PM
John, I would like to see a map of all the property owned by the Housing Authority. Do you have a link?
Pennyluhu August 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM
The reason, Jason, that I, like you, don't go by my last name is because some of the folks who comment here seem a little edgy. Also, the same reason I'm not in phone book, etc. Again, my calendar reads 2012 and before you call me paranoid, I am not paranoid, just like to be cautious. I refuse to be afraid in this world but will not volunteer to be a victim. No offense to you or John, God bless you both
Jason J August 24, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Ok Penny I accept why you don't post your last name. What makes me think that you might be the racist one here is based on Johns post you are assuming the he is referring to "coloreds" as you put it. Do you think that only Blacks or minorities are coming here? You seem to assume that Blacks are the problem based on your statements. Before you call racist. Take a look in the mirror at yourself.
Sunnie August 25, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Oh we have more than enough? Is that why there is only ONE homeless shelter in ALL of Waukesha County for men? And that ONE shelter they can only stay for 45 days and then can't come back for 60. I guess with the plethora of low income housing this is why so many of our poor end up in boarding houses or simply on the streets. John- our economy is crap, we have people losing jobs daily. Now, more than ever in recent times we need these low-income apartments.
Pennyluhu August 25, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Hate to disappoint you, Jason, my friend but I don't see color when I look at or meet someone.I judge by the" content of their character" to quote Dr MLK
Louise August 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Um housing for disabled adults is not the same thing as low income housing for "transients" as you say.

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