GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) A Habitat for Humanity building project in Green Bay is on hold. The city stopped the project even though Habitat says, the municipality approved their plans months ago.
In the 1600 block of Deckner Avenue, a home construction build by Habitat for Humanity has been put on hold by the city. And according to the non-profit’s executive director, the delay has her frustrated and upset.
“I want to go on record saying we have done everything we’re supposed to do as an organization,” said Cora Haultaufderheid.
Habitat says last fall a site plan for this home was approved by the city’s Building Inspection Department. In it was a 25-foot building setback, for the front of the home from the curb. But months after digging a foundation, adding walls and a roof, the city shut the project down February 23.
“Once we got a roof on it I received a phone call from the city asking me to apply for a variance for this house,” said Nate Zepnick from Habitat.
In layman’s terms, an exemption from a setback between the range of 40 and 45 feet, even though months before their site plan was approved for 25 feet and the project inspected by the city three times.
“The problem is we are not at fault in putting the house where we were told we could put it,” Zepnick said. “If the inspection department would have asked us to put it back to 45 feet we absolutely would have complied.”
But last week when Habitat went before the city’s Zoning and Planning Board of Appeals asking for the variance, they were denied.
Members citing neighborhood feedback, impact to property values and the possibility that Habitat could simply move the home back 10-20 feet.
“When we look at the variance standpoint, what we’ve got to follow, it’s an unfortunate way for it to come down. But I think that’s the way it has to come down,” said board member, Greg Babcock.
“It would be well north of $50,000 to pick the house up, remove foundation, dig a new hole, pour a new foundation and move the house,” Zepnick said.
And now this project sits, along with the thousands of dollars of materials purchased to build this home, as Habitat for Humanity determines next steps.
“We did nothing wrong as Habitat. We did nothing wrong,” said Haltaufderheid.
We’ve been told Habitat and the City of Green Bay are in discussions to try to find a path forward.