The meeting was initiated for two reasons – most of the city’s existing regulations are based on the county’s ordinances before Dunwoody incorporated. Also, several citizen-driven planning initiatives are being implemented through revised regulations.
During the meeting, city council debated the future of boarding or rooming houses within Dunwoody. Mayor Mike Davis said he would like to look into the possibility of putting a different option in instead of rooming or boarding houses. City Attorney Lenny Felgin said he would not advise the city to ban such housing options.
“Boarding houses and rooming houses are set up for particular use,” Felgin said “If the city outright does not allow them, with current case law you could be considered of not complying with the Fair Housing Act.”
Council members and the mayor asked how many unrelated citizens are permitted to live in one house according to the act. Felgin said there is no clear case law that says how many unrelated residents can live in a house, but he said he would not lower the permitted number in the current ordinance, which is at four.
Davis said he also wants to know how to enforce this issue since a problem with this type of housing is not brought up until a neighbor complains.
This code originated from DeKalb County and Dunwoody did not revise it when the city incorporated. Community Development Director Steve Dush said the city never defined what a rooming or boarding house is or why they should or should not be allowed in the city.
According to current ordinances, a rooming house cannot be located in a single family home. Dush said he will see if a special land use permit.