Daughters of Charity Denied Fox Point Home

Board declines request to amend ordinance allowing more than three, unrelated adults to live together.

Neighbors say they don't want a group home near their property. The nuns say they just want to be members of the community. After compelling comments from both sides, the Fox Point Village Board declined their request Tuesday evening by a narrow vote, leaving the nuns to find new residency. 

"The Sisters want to live here because they love the community, love the home and want to be part of the community," Robb Marcus, attorney for the nuns said.

Five, unrelated women asked the village board to amend an ordinance that says only up to three, unrelated adults can live in Fox Point within the same home. But this isn't just a group of friends, these women are the Daughters of Charity, parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul who have ministered in the Milwaukee area since 1842.

Marcus attempted to explain that the women are ready to take any specific restrictions necessary to allow them to purchase the home at 7860 N. Mohawk Rd. However the purchase of the home is contingent that a special arrangement be made to override the current Fox Point ordinance that only up to three unrelated people can live in the same home.

While board members acknowledged these women would be prime candidates for this kind of special permit, they are concerned about the future implications on the village. Residents agreed, voicing their apprehension to the change.

Paul Schwartz lives across the street from the property in question. He says that while it's nothing personal, this could open the floodgates for a much bigger problem.

"My concern is certainly not with these fine people who would be wonderful members to our community, but it's the long-term impact," Schwartz said. "We're more than doubling the number of unrelated persons who can live on a property and I am worried about the floodgate opening here."

Schwartz continued to explain that changing the ordinance could change the character of the neighborhood, and not in a good way. 

Board President Michael West opted to have Village Attorney Eric Larson look into a possible conditional use permit as opposed to rezoning, but was met with nay votes from a majority of the board. The motion for further review was denied 4-3.

"I'm exceptionally uncomfortable without a case-by-case study," trustee Christine Symchych said.

"I'm uncomfortable going down this path," trustee Eric Fonstad said. "Distinctions have been made, but any way you cut it, it's a group home. It erodes the residential character of the village."

Bewildered June 15, 2011 at 10:44 PM
You have gotta be kidding. Good thing Fox Point is keeping these dangerous nuns out,,
Bob McBride June 15, 2011 at 10:58 PM
"My concern is certainly not with these fine people who would be wonderful members to our community, but it's the long-term impact," Schwartz said. "We're more than doubling the number of unrelated persons who can live on a property and I am worried about the floodgate opening here." **************** The floodgate of what? You mean the endless lines of unrelated adults lined up on all borders chomping at the bit to shack up, 5 to a dwelling, in Fox Point? Honestly, I think the real problem in most cases like this is the number of thick skulls populating village boards. That's the "number per" we really need to be concerned about.
Bewildered June 15, 2011 at 11:36 PM
I wonder if the FP board knows that nuns take a vow of celibacy? Thus they can't be related. Duh !!! Sounds like a pretty good reason for a board granted variance . Hey Fox Point, the whole North Shore is mocking you. Wait till Belling gets ahold of this one!
Barb June 16, 2011 at 01:48 PM
As a former residence of Fox Point for 40 years I am surprised at the people who commented here on the board. If down the road you found out that other people were doing it and living 5 or more unrelated adults because that is how they could afford to live in such a nice neighborhood; I'm sure you would be complaining about that and the fact that your values would go down and it would turn into another slum where these things happen.. Can't win in these times. If you make an exception for one, there will almost certainly be another group that will come along and do it without permission and before you know it, Fox Point is ruined. If it were me, I would say fine, but you have to consider all the people who live there and what they expect and want from the community and they pay good money for it.
Adam White June 16, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Very tough decision, but i agree with Barb. A lot of variables to consider here.
Bewildered June 16, 2011 at 02:15 PM
The board can put whatever restrictions they want on a variance. Yup, nuns moving in will ruin FP. Sure sounds like the FP concerns about Best Buy. Wouldn't want "those type of people" moving in, would we. To use a term from Madison....."Shame"
Bewildered June 16, 2011 at 02:30 PM
By the way, under FHA rulings, these scary nuns could apply as a religious orginization or as a CBRF and there is NOTHING The FP board could do to stop it. Such cass in the North Shoree have gone to trial to block such actions and lost. Maybe the nuns are just the wrong religion for FP?
Kris June 16, 2011 at 02:37 PM
If you have the legal ability to review matters such as these on a case-by-case basis, then by all means use it Or if you think it's possible to get it, pursue it. Isn't the job of the Village Board to do what's best for the village, even if that may present some challenges? I live within blocks of the proposed Mohawk Road location, and would love the sight of these women going for an evening stroll together.
patti benson June 16, 2011 at 02:55 PM
I understand the concern of the property values going down because it opens up the doors for others to come in and live in larger numbers under one roof. I would be upset if a multi families came to live under one roof in my community. It's a slippery slop. My question is why can't we treat this as a case by case decision. These nuns would probably bring much good to the community and neighborhood. But again case by case bases or the doors could be open to all sorts of problems. So I agree with Barb and also theirs got to be another way so we don't have people pointing the finger of judgement too. Theirs nothing shameful for protecting your investment.
Bewildered June 17, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Belling picked up on the absurdity of this story yesterday and will be following up on it today. Way to go FP. You must be so proud in your defense against these terrible nuns. I LOVE it!!
patti benson June 17, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Belling, consider the source. Anything to make a buck, so to speak. This too shall pass.
Ann Deuser February 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Hmmm...when the time comes, I wouldn't want to explain my vote at the Pearly Gates. I think we'd all agree The Daughters of Charity have a more powerful (and hopefully forgiving) boss upstairs.


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