CITY OF BROOKFIELD - Just about a year after initially presenting their plans to bring a new cultural center to the edge of a residential neighborhood, the Corporation for Social and Educational Development is back with a revamped proposal.

The Chicago-based organization hopes to bring the Petawa Residence and Cultural Center to Brookfield.

The proposal eyes a site at West North Avenue and Hillsdale Drive West; however, it led to some concerns from nearby residents.

Petawa was initially brought up to the city's plan commission in May 2016, but was later formally postponed in September. At that time, plans called for the item to be brought back in October, but instead Petawa sought to make changes to its proposal.

"We've been here (before), almost a year ago for the same project, though since then, as a result of some input from the neighbors and additional contributions, we've withdrawn the application previously and made significant revisions to the plan so as to cause less of an impact on the neighborhood on Hillsdale," Corporation for Social and Educational Development representative Bernard Kearney said.

In September, a number of residents voiced their concerns at a public hearing, including Luke and Katrina Hergott, whose home, and children, would have been only feet away from the previously proposed site of the center.

"We do have a pool in the backyard. We have young children. I'm not very comfortable with people looking out their windows or going to their garage and looking into our backyard and seeing our children in their swimsuits," Katrina Hergott said. "That's a big invasion of privacy."

The most recent iteration of plans for the Petawa Residence now call for there to be a much larger buffer between the building and neighboring residents. The proposal calls for the property to be divided into two lots with the southern half hosting the new cultural center and the northern part remaining vacant.

"Rather than having the dormitory/religious based living quarters located immediately adjacent to existing homes, there's going to be an intervening lot," city of Brookfield Director of Community Development Dan Ertl said.

Ertl noted that Petawa could sell that lot in the future with a single-family residence a likely possibility. A conditional use permit that Petawa is seeking in order for their project to be allowed would not apply to the northern lot.

"The other change is that not only have they moved the building further away from the existing neighborhood but also instead of it running north-south along Hillsdale Drive West, it's going to run east-west parallel to North Avenue," Ertl said.

The Petawa Residence is currently in the city of Milwaukee on the East Side and has operated for over 100 years. The center is inspired by Christian values, but Petawa officials say that acceptance at the residence is in no way affected by religious beliefs, Christian or otherwise.

The center offers a number of programs with the goal of helping women with personal development and self-fulfillment.

A public hearing for the revamped plans has been tentatively scheduled for June 12. The city is also currently planning to host a public information meeting May 31; however, both functions could be delayed.

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