Dunwoody City Council on April 28 approved the first land-use permit for a home-based business under the city’s new zoning code.

The Special Land Use Permit was for a day care facility in the Dunwoody Highlands subdivision. Candace Johnston was seeking permission to operate her business on Coldstream Drive in a single-family zoning district.

In a site plan submitted in January, Johnston stated that she would use about 35 percent of her home to run the business.

“I provided lots of letters of support from my neighbors,” Johnston told the council. “I was a teacher for Dunwoody Baptist for 12 years, and a nanny in the afternoons, and I observed a need for full-time child care. It’s a bonus for families in Dunwoody to be able to trust and know who they have caring for their children as well as being in their community.”

Though he doesn’t live in the neighborhood, resident Robert Wohlford was the lone person at the council meeting who said he opposed the project.

“This SLUP application will negatively impact the Dunwoody community, and not just the homes proximal to it, because it opens the door to future applicants which over time could inundate our neighborhoods with homes that operate businesses with customer contact,” he said.

Both city staff and the planning commission had recommended approval of the request, which was approved with the following conditions:

1. The business can only operate between 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

2. The maximum number of children enrolled at the facility at one time should be four.

3. No vehicle may be parked on the public right of way in a manner that impedes traffic flow, blocks fire hydrants or impedes neighbors’ access to their property and driveway.

4. The home’s exterior must be maintained, and no signs other than those permitted in the zoning district should be allowed.

5. The permit is for the homeowner only for a 10-year period.

Johnston said she would comply with all the conditions.

After becoming a city, Dunwoody spent 18 months rewriting the zoning code it had adopted from DeKalb County. Under the original code, anyone applying for a SLUP would have to go before the community council in addition to the planning commission and the city council.

According to City Councilman Terry Nall, eliminating the community council step simplifies the process, which he says remains transparent since the applicant still has to post a sign in their yard that he or she is applying for the permit, neighbors are notified, and public hearings are held.

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.

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