But, after hearing a few cases about too many cars parked in driveways and too many unrelated people residing in a home, most of the votes did not allow for any exceptions.
The first case concerned a property north of Dallas Highway off Due West Road in west Cobb.
Richard Vogh III and his wife, Polly, own a home off Westwood Drive, where two of their five adult children live with them.
Although the family falls within the approved number of tenants inside the house, the carport and driveway outside holds six vehicles. County code only permits four.
One is an old truck parked alongside the house. Vogh said the antique truck runs and is drivable.
Most noticeably, the driveway is filled with one son’s bread-delivery box truck.
Vogh said his son typically works 4 a.m. to noon servicing the Douglasville area, and then parks the bread truck in the driveway. Under county code, work vehicles are allowed to be kept at a residence.
One of the Voghs’ neighbors, Mark Greir, came to show his support at the public hearing Tuesday morning.
“I think it is a little ridiculous he has to go through this to park vehicles in his yard,” Greir said.
The amount of vehicles the Voghs own is not endangering any lives, blocking public streets or crossing property lines, he said.
“Our opinion of what is on his property doesn’t really matter,” Greir said. “The code doesn’t say the property must be pleasing to all who gaze upon it.”
A truck or a billboard?
Across from the Voghs’ home is the entrance to a 40-year-old neighborhood on Steve Drive.
Residents of that neighborhood came to Tuesday’s meeting to oppose a special land-use permit being granted.
A couple of Tuesday’s speakers said the Voghs only recently cleared out the carport, which was used as storage, to hold two vehicles after neighbors began filing complaints.
David Beckette, who lives a few houses away, said the delivery truck is the main issue, since it typically sits 10 to 15 feet from the main road throughout the afternoon and evening.
Commissioner Helen Goreham, who represents the area, said it is a delicate balancing act to determine what is permissible.
“Residents who live there are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their property,” Goreham said.
On Feb. 4, the Planning Commission suggested the bread truck be parked at an offsite location, such as the parking lot of a commercial space or storage facility in Douglasville with the owner’s permission.
But since the Vogh family has not accepted that suggestion, the commissioners voted 5-0 for a one-year approval to permit one extra vehicle on the Voghs’ property.
The Voghs can park the delivery truck alongside the house, where the antique truck has been parked. The box truck must have the cab end facing out, so the advertising along the truck would be hidden from most cars and pedestrians passing by.
Does county code discriminate against marriage, families?
The only permit request that was not a unanimous decision by the commissioners concerned a five-bedroom home in east Cobb, north of Lower Roswell Road on the corner of Pioneer Trail and Ashton Woods Drive.
Danesh Roshan owns the home where he lives with his wife and son. Four months ago, the Roshans took in another couple, friends from Michigan.
The husband works out of town most of the time and did not want to leave his wife alone at night, Roshan said.
Roshan told the commissioners he was not sure how long the couple would be staying.
“As far as I can help them to stay,” Roshan said.
According to current Cobb County code, only two unrelated adults or a one family are allowed to live in a single-family home. That means two friends, roommates or an unwed couple are permitted, but a married couple or family living in a house, no matter how large, could not legally have even one unrelated person living under their roof.
Residents have argued that the ordinance discriminates against families and married couples.
Commissioners Bob Ott, who represents the district where the Roshans live, said “I can understand there may be some issues with the husband traveling,” but most cases involve special circumstances.
The commissioners voted 4-1 to deny the request, with Cupid opposed. There were no residents at Tuesday’s meeting in opposition to the permit request.
Cupid said the code is not designed to address all circumstances, so she encourages Cobb residents to keep applying for permits.
“Our code can have unintended hardship for some families,” said Cupid. “There is a reason we have this platform.”
A boarding house or extra room?
One family has been sharing space in their north Cobb home with a couple tenants and a stream of guests.
Jason and Mi Kyong Kormos are the owners of a 1,688-square-foot-home off Abington Walk, which they purchased in March 2011.
The two-story, yellow home is off Shiloh Road, across Interstate 75 from the Kennesaw State University campus.
At the Planning Commission on Feb. 4, Jason Kormos, a former apartment manager, said both he and his wife are teachers who hope to raise children in the home someday.
That is why, Kormos said, the couple renovated the basement to serve as an apartment for his in-laws when they move from overseas to help with their future grandchildren.
In the meantime, to subsidize expenses, Kormos said he rented out the basement apartment to a man and his fiancée. Another woman, who often had a boyfriend visiting, rented a room upstairs.
Abington Green Homeowners’ Association President David Reed, who lives two houses away from the Kormos family, said it has become a common occurrence for people to rent out bedrooms in the surrounding older homes.
“We are concerned about that trend,” Reed told the commissioners.
Julius Buchanon, who lives off Abington Walk, said he does not want the more than 20-year-old single-family residential area to become dotted with rental units.
“I don’t wish to live in an apartment complex,” Buchanon said.
The Kormos family’s special-use permit request was spurred after neighbors complained to county staff about the amount of cars on the sides of a narrow road that bends in front of the Kormoses’ road.
On Feb. 4, the Planning Commission recommended to deny the variance, but delay the enforcement until the end of May, when the renters have completed their latest college semester.
On Tuesday, Kormos said the couple would follow the recommendation by the Planning Commission.
“I really don’t like being here,” Kormos said. “Let us have until May when the semester’s out and then we will be done with it.”
The commissioners voted 5-0 to deny the permit, with delayed enforcement.