The site is located on the eastern side of Roberts Drive, approximately half a mile north
of the intersection with Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

The owner of a Roberts Road church building is asking that the property be rezoned so it can continue to be used as a church and a preschool.

“All we’re trying to do is get it to where we can use the building …,” said John Dryman, manager of Headman Investments LLC, which is seeking the rezoning. “We’re not trying to change anything.”

Dryman says the current R-100 zoning on the 4.75-acre property, the former site of the New Hope Church of Dunwoody and a preschool, doesn’t allow operation of a church or the operation of a preschool with more than six students. The church closed last year, and was closed long enough that prior “grandfathered” uses no longer apply to the property, city officials said.

But some neighbors worry that rezoning the property will open it to future uses that don’t fit with the surrounding neighborhoods. Dryman is asking that the zoning be changed from R-100, a single-family residential zoning, to Office-Institution.

The request is scheduled to go before the Dunwoody Community Council on Feb. 27.

During the Feb. 9 meeting of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s board, some members questioned allowing office zoning in the middle of a residential area. Some DHA board members thought the church would be allowed to operate at the property with a special permit.

“It’s all mumbo-jumbo,” board member Bob Lundsten told the group. “He wants to go to O-I in the middle of the block. … This is about an O and I zoning in the middle of a neighborhood.”

The DHA board voted to oppose the rezoning, DHA President Stacey Harris said in an email. But, she said, the group supports allowing a church and day care or preschool at the property and members believe that both could operate under existing zoning.

There are four buildings on the property at 5477 Roberts Drive, the zoning application says. The church building is again being used for worship, Dryman said. The New Apostolic Church of North Atlanta and a separate Brazilian congregation now meet at the building, he said.

He said he has no plans to ever use the property for anything but a church and preschool.

“All we want to do is to be able to use the building,” Dryman said. “Some of the neighbors are concerned we want to build an office building. [Our request is] site-plan specific. We just want it for that use.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.