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Proposed residential development would benefit adults with disabilities
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Proposed residential development would benefit adults with disabilities

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Bldg B.jpg

A rendering of Building B, one of the buildings in the proposal for The Arbors project on 30th Avenue in Kenosha which went before the Kenosha Plan Commission and got unanimous approval Thursday night. The architect is Tony Garza of Kenosha and the engineer is Tim Lynch of Burlington.

A 32-unit multi-family housing development geared toward adults with disabilities moved one step closer to reality after a city panel gave a favorable recommendation.

Representatives with Arbor Holdings LLC went before the Kenosha Plan Commission on Thursday and fleshed out the latest iterations of their housing project, to be named The Arbors.

As proposed, the development would include two buildings on 2.9 acres of land at 1915 30th Ave. and 2031 30th Ave. In addition to the units themselves, proposed amenities for residents include a basketball court, garden area, gazebo, picnic spot and indoor exercise facility.

Plans for The Arbors first surfaced last year, but were intermittently withdrawn as the developers fine-tuned details. Original plans called for a 28-unit facility on a 1.6-acre parcel, but an opportunity to purchase an adjacent vacant plot of land allowed for the changes to coalesce.

Several reasons were cited for the change in plans, including an overall less dense development, which was a desire from city officials.

“I really appreciate the new, lower density because that was an issue the first time around,” said Ald. Holly Kangas, whose district encompasses the site of the proposed development. “I believe this is a better fit.”

Leslie Scherrer Pella of PSG Inc., a firm included in The Arbor’s project team, said all parties involved have been collaborative throughout the planning process — most notably Arbor Holdings owners Jeff Crabtree and Mack Crabtree.

“They’ve worked very hard in the last couple of months to hear concerns from the Plan Commission and staff regarding their project,” Scherrer Pella said of the Crabtrees. “They have worked close with staff to understand various concerns.”

Since the project’s proposal, questions have arisen about certain aspects of the development, including a community building and how it would mesh with the overall operations plan.

Scherrer Pella and other representatives throughout Thursday’s lengthy conversation said an onsite manager would be staffed within the development around the clock and would work out of the community building.

“There is no intention to market office space for lease to unaffiliated parties,” Scherrer Pella said.

The spectrum of adults contending with disabilities is naturally broad, but Scherrer Pella doubled down on the goal of offering living facilities to adults in need of assistance, either in a short-term transitional situation or longer-term.

“The operational plan has been consistent with the project, from the beginning,” she said. “All units in the development are intended to be geared toward disabled adults.”

While the proposal was lauded by a number of commissioners because of the need it could serve, reservations still were shared during the recent deliberations, although the ultimate vote was unanimous.

“My concern, and maybe it’s unfounded, but how do we control who lives in this residence, besides the disabled people?“ commissioner Michael Foster said. “Sometimes people get taken advantage of, and sometimes get strong-armed by other people.”

In response, Jeff Crabtree said The Arbors is being proposed with the interest of adults with disabilities. Arbor Holdings, he said, has previously placed people in units with people who are with and without disabilities.

“We will not lease to anybody, other than an adult, who is disabled, so we will not be renting to anyone in the general public,” Crabtree said of The Arbors’ operating plan. “We’ve been doing this for 25 years, and we want to continue doing this.”

The City Council is slated to vote on the proposal Sept. 9.

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