McFarland may soon see its first memory care facility, specifically created for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The McFarland Village Board, on Monday, Oct. 28, approved a request to rezone the property at 5513 Bremer Road from single-family residential to elderly residential. Seth Allen plans to build a 40-unit family owned and operated assisted living memory care facility on the property.
The facility would consist of two 20-unit buildings, the first of which would be completed in fall of 2020. The second building would be constructed between 2023 and 2025 depending on market conditions and would be connected with a short hallway or shared kitchen.
Before Allen can begin construction, he still must have the site plan and conditional permit use approved by the village board.
The single-story facility will be licensed through the Division of Quality Assurance in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a community based residential facility with inspection prior to opening.
Each building will have three to five staff members, working in eight-hour shifts, on site at any given time. Facility residents would not be able to drive, so the only increase in traffic would be due to staff members, deliveries and visitors.
Allen and his wife, Heather Allen, will own and operate the facility. They plan to maintain the lake neighborhood’s atmosphere and existing woodlands.
“The proposed building, or buildings, would be single story and they would have a residential feel,” Seth Allen said. “We’re hoping they’ll look like a large residence and fit in with other lake homes in the region.”
The board received comments from neighbors of the potential facility who were concerned about how the facility would fit in with the area’s atmosphere and increased traffic.
“Traffic at these facilities is usually pretty minimal. In fact, it’s usual less than what you would see in that area if you were to develop it in single-family residences,” Allen said.
He added that they would maintain as much natural landscaping as possible.
Neighborhood resident Don Goben said because memory care residents will be living at the facility full time, he does consider it their home. As someone who has family members with dementia, he said there is not much help for those struggling with memory in the area.
“I don’t think people are realizing these people with dementia, they cannot be by themselves and they do need that type of care, and I think this would be the lowest traffic density thing you could put there,” he said.
“I’ve been waiting for something to happen on that hill, and quite frankly, as soon as I heard this is what it was, I was thrilled that this is what it was,” another neighbor, Amy Johnson, said.
She added that this would be the least disruptive facility to add to the area, because any added traffic would be minimal.
However, some residents were still concerned about the influx of people in the neighborhood.
Janine Turner voiced her concern about the disruption to the neighborhood’s residential aesthetic with a parking lot on the street. She asked for a landscaping buffer between the road and the parking lot.
“My concern is having a large parking lot initially coming in, which would not look like a home, or a family, or a transition between residential,” Turner said.