Four Cobb families applied for special land use permits in order to go above the allowed number of vehicles parked outside of a residence or to permit more than two unrelated adults to share a Cobb home.
Posted on the lawn of one Westwood Estates home, north of Dallas Highway off Due West Road in west Cobb, is a large white sign notifying neighbors that the Vogh family would have a hearing with the county.
The small ranch home on Westwood Drive, built in 1972, is owned by Richard Vogh III.
Vogh and his wife, Polly, have five grown children and two of their adult sons live at home.
Although the family falls within the boundaries of the number of approved tenants inside the house, the driveway outside holds six vehicles. County code only permits four.
Vogh and his wife have two cars parked in the attached garage. The grown sons add an additional pickup truck and Jeep, which are both parked in the driveway.
An old truck, which is rusted and worn, is parked alongside the house. Vogh told the Planning Commission the antique truck is drivable with the original parts.
Lastly, and most noticeably, the small driveway is filled with one son’s bread delivery box truck.
Vogh told the Planning Commission that his son typically works 4 a.m. to noon servicing the Douglasville area, then parks the bread truck at home.
A one-year special permit
Four Cobb residents attended the Planning Commission meeting to voice their opposition to the Vogh family’s request for a special land use permit.
Across from the Voghs’ home is the entrance to a 40-year-old neighborhood on Steve Drive.
David Beckett, who lives on Steve Drive, told the commission that the delivery truck is the main issue, since it typically sits 10 to 15 feet from the main road throughout the afternoon and evening.
Beckett’s neighbor, Carolyn Freeman, said having the Voghs’ yard filled with vehicles hurts the appeal of the community.
“To me, it is like looking at a billboard,” said Freeman about the images of bread on the delivery truck.
Under the county code, Planning Commission member Bob Hovey said work vehicles are allowed to be brought home.
Hovey said he did not want to interfere with a small business owner, but said the family had to “be reasonable.”
But, even if the commission granted a variance for the bread truck, the Vogh family would still have one too many vehicles parked at their house, Hovey said.
On Feb. 4, the Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend to the Board of Commissioners a one-year approval to permit one extra vehicle on the Vogh’s 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.
Planning Commission member Judy Williams was against the decision.
Williams suggested the bread truck be parked at an offsite location, such as the parking lot of a commercial space or storage facility with the owner’s permission.
“The neighbors are entitled to their enjoyment of the neighborhood,” Williams said.
Boarding college students
The second case on special land use permits involved the Kormos family 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 for $93,000, according to the Cobb County Tax Assessor’s Office.
The two-story, yellow home is off Shiloh Road, across Interstate 75 from the Kennesaw State University campus.
Jason Kormos, a former apartment manager, said the home stood vacant for three years, with the basement damaged by water and the gutters falling down.
“It was in serious disrepair,” Kormos told the Planning Commission.
Kormos said they put $20,000 into the home in the first two years, “just to make it livable.” Then the couple financed another $50,000 in repairs through loans and credit cards.
Both Kormos and his wife are teachers, who hope to raise children in the home someday. Which 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.
To subsidize the upgrades, Kormos told the Planning Commission he rented out the basement apartment to a man and his fiance. Another woman, who often had a boyfriend visiting, rented a room upstairs.
Cobb County code says only two unrelated adults are allowed to live in a single-family home.
Variance denied, with a delay of enforcement
Eleven people came to the Feb. 4 meeting to express their frustration with the situation in the neighborhood.
Abington Green Homeowners’ Association President David Reed said he lives two houses away from the Kormos family.
Reed said if the Planning Commission granted the permit to the Kormos it would change the 20-year-old single-family residential area into an apartment complex.
“This variance opens up for people to rent by the room,” Reed said.
Other neighbors, with a petition signed by 16 other nearby homeowners, said the Kormos’ often have six to eight cars parked along the curve in front of their house, with the vehicles pulled partially onto the yard.
Connie Sechler, who lives off Abington Walk, said cars were parked on the street every day, even with the Kormos’ wide driveway was empty, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through the narrow road.
The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend the Board of Commissioners deny the variance, but delay the enforcement until the end of May, when the renters have completed their latest college semester.
Planning Commission member Christi Trombetti said the area is filled with modest homes on small lots, so even one more tenant means an extra vehicle, guests, and a “second set of activity.”
Planning Commission Chairman Mike Terry said the county must be consistent when the code is reviewed.
“We try to have a heart if that is needed,” Terry said. “But we are trying to prevent boarding houses from springing up around the area.”