Monday, October 10, 2011

Dunwoody Planning Commission to discuss zoning change regarding home occupation on Tuesday.

The case of the violin teacher who wanted to give lessons in her home sparked a call to modify the zoning regulations to allow home businesses in the R-100 zoning district under specific circumstances.  Though this is only being directed at R-100 in this draft, it doesn't mean that it won't be modified to other zoning codes before this process is finished.  For example, I live in an R-85 zoning district and the violin teacher lived in R-75 therefore this change wouldn't affect my neighborhood nor would it helped the violin teacher, so the rational for limiting this to just one zoning code will need to be discussed. In fact the staff memo states that this proposed ordinance should be expanded into the other single family zoning districts.

This matter has already gone through the review of the Community Council and they have had a hand in crafting the attached document though I see several of their recommendations have not been completely incorporated in the final draft for the Planning Commission's meeting on Tuesday night 7 pm.

As much as I want to loosen this ordinance, I also don't want to open a loophole which will negatively affect the quality of life for the neighbors.  I sat in one of the early hearings (believe it was Community Council?) on the violin teacher where a resident was literally crying at the podium because she was forced to deal with another home occupation (nothing related to a music teacher) that appears to me to be allowed under these set of rules.

I have a few questions & concerns on specific language and would appreciate a through review by anyone interested.  Feel free to make comments on the blog, email the Planning Commission or Council directly.

As I am sure there will be a public hearing in front of the City Council, I will remain mum on the matter and listen to all arguments both pro and con.  Thanks, John

Sec. 27-1321. - Home occupations and private educational uses.
The following provisions shall apply to home occupations. Private educational uses shall only
be required to comply with subsections (1), (2), (3), (4) and (8) of this section

(1) There shall be no exterior evidence of the home occupation.
(2) No use shall create noise, dust, vibration, odor, smoke, glare or electrical
interference that would be detectable beyond the dwelling unit.
(3) The use shall be conducted entirely within the dwelling unit. , and
(4) Only persons living in the dwelling unit shall be employed at the location of the
home occupation.
(5) No more than 25 percent of the dwelling unit and in no case more than 500
square feet, whichever is less, may be used for the conduct of the home
(6) No use shall involve public contact on the property and no article, product or
service shall be sold on the premises other than by telephone.
(7) No materials or equipment shall be stored on the premises upon which the home
occupation is located, except where such materials and equipment are stored
entirely within the residence.
(8) No vehicle other than a passenger automobile, passenger van, or passenger truck
shall be used in the conduct of a home occupation, and no other vehicle shall be
parked or stored on such premises.
(9) No home occupation shall be operated so as to create or cause a nuisance.
(10) The home occupation shall not be open to the public or receive deliveries
earlier than 8:00 a.m. or later than 8:00 p.m., excluding routine residential type
(11) Home Occupations shall be limited to a maximum of 2 business related
visitors at any time. Business related visitors include but are not limited to
employees, business partners, contractors, subcontractors, clients, customers,
students, etc.
(12) No on-street parking associated with the business shall be permitted.
(13) No commodity shall be stocked or sold on the premises to the general public.
(14) Home occupations must exclude the use of instruments, machinery or
equipment that emit sounds (i.e. musical instruments, sewing machines, saws,
drills) that are detectable beyond the dwelling unit.
(15) Multiple home occupations may be permitted within a single residence;
however, the limitations herein shall apply to the combined uses.
(16) Business related parties/gatherings may be held no more than twice per year.
These parties shall not be advertised to the general public.
(17) Home Occupations for educational purposes are exempted from Sections
1321(1), (3), and (7).
(18) Home occupation with customer contact shall not include the use of a dwelling
unit for the purpose of operating a massage therapy, psychic, fortuneteller,
tattoo, and/or body piercing establishment.
(19) Home occupation shall not include the use of a dwelling unit for the purpose
of operating any automobile repair establishment, taxi service, van service,
limousine service, wrecker service, car wash, or ammunition or firearms sales
(20) The following are additional provisions for a child day care facility:
a. A child day care facility shall provide outdoor play areas as required by
Georgia law, but such areas shall be limited to side or rear yards outside
the minimum yard area, and shall not occupy any yard adjoining a street.
i. For the purposes of complying with this provision, family day care
facilities are exempt from Sections 1321(1),(3), and (7).
b. A child day care facility shall be located at least one thousand (1,000) feet
in all directions from any other such use operated as a home occupation.
c. Hours of operation of a child day care facility operated as a home
occupation shall be limited to Monday through Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to
8:00 p.m.
d. A child day care facility operator shall have a current, certified copy of the
operator's State of Georgia family day care home registration which shall
be filed with the business license application and renewals.


Bob Turner said...

Back home in Houston we have no zoning laws, none whatsoever, and we make do. In fact we thrive.

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

I plan on adding quite a few (more) cents to this discussion so I'll be reviewing the document as well and if nothing hits the fan at home, I intend to be at the meeting tomorrow night.

Regarding a couple of points you mentioned:

When asked why the zoning in the new edits was only R100 (by myself as well as Commission members), Mr. Koontz' answer was "I don't know." I find this unacceptable. The very minimum the City should do in putting forth any ordinance change is explain the thought process behind it. The merits can be debated but at least start with "why".

Regarding your friend in tears: I remember that meeting. From what she described her objection (from someone outside the neighborhood in question, I might add) was that increased traffic would "endanger the children". There has been no increase in traffic since the SLUP was awarded and no vehicular accidents of any kind on the street. The fear expressed was unjustified in this case, the hypothesis disproven in practice.

I also remember her complaint: swim lessons in a neighbor's pool. IMHO, this is not a home occupation issue per se - it is a code enforcement issue. The City was unresponsive to her complaints that her neighbor was starting to operate outside the set boundaries. All of the ordinances in the world are irrelevant if all Dunwoody has in terms of code enforcement is one guy who makes a trip somewhere once a week. A city with a daytime population in excess of $100K needs a greater investment in code enforcement.

See you tomorrow night....