MUKWONAGO — There was controversy in Mukwonago over the pending arrival of a new neighbor. The village board heard from both sides before casting a vote months in the making.
One by one, people stood before the Mukwonago Village Board to voice their support or concern over Haase House. The daytime business teaches young adults with disabilities independent living skills.
"It's not conducive to the neighborhood," one resident said.
"I'm asking you to be brave and kind," another said.
Haase House officials wanted to move the program out of an isolated farmhouse and into a home in a residential neighborhood.
"The supervision is extremely high," said Mary Haase, Haase House director. "So when it comes to the word 'safety,' safety is why I have this business."
The vote came several months after Haase House officials first reached out to village leaders about the move. In June, operators told Contact 6 they'd hit a wall.
Contact 6 reached out to village leaders.
"What we discovered is, within residential neighborhoods, that use is not permitted," explained John Weidl, Mukwonago village administrator.
Still, Weidl said there could be a path forward.
"There are some federal laws that we could cite for exceptions for Americans with disabilities," he explained.
After public comment during a meeting in July, the board met in a one-hour closed session. Following the session, the board voted on the Haase House's special use permit.
It passed unanimously.
"I'm just very thankful that the Village of Mukwonago has seen this as a positive thing for the community," Haase said.
Haase House officials set maximum capacity at 15 clients and five staff, and they have a parking plan to make sure cars are not regularly parked on the street.