Neighborhood rift
by Hilary Butschek
June 18, 2014 04:00 AM | 3930 views | 7 7 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta resident Joan Chabib, left, speaks with Ward 3 city Councilman Johnny Walker on Tuesday in front of her Brookwood Drive home. Chabib, a retired counselor with Cobb County schools, is asking for a zoning variance from the city so she can offer counseling sessions at her house. <br> Staff/Jeff Stanton
Marietta resident Joan Chabib, left, speaks with Ward 3 city Councilman Johnny Walker on Tuesday in front of her Brookwood Drive home. Chabib, a retired counselor with Cobb County schools, is asking for a zoning variance from the city so she can offer counseling sessions at her house.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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MARIETTA — Residents of Brookwood Drive in east Marietta are concerned that one homeowner’s desire to start a business in her home could spoil the neighborhood.

Problems with privacy and increases in traffic could arise if a business were allowed inside the neighborhood, residents say.

A public hearing will take place at the City Council meeting July 9 where council members will make a decision on whether to allow Joan Chabib to start a counseling business in her home, said Rusty Roth, the city’s planning and zoning manager.

The house sits on Brookwood Drive, which residents describe as a quiet street that connects to Whitlock Avenue. Chabib, who is a retired school counselor, and her husband are newcomers to the neighborhood.

“When I retired, my dream was to have a location that was very peaceful and quiet and easy to get to for the business,” Chabib said. “We bought the house because I wanted to have a good location for a business.”

The very reason Chabib chose the house for a business — its quietness — is the same quality many residents say they wanted when they bought homes on the street. And now those homeowners are worried that a business, with its customers constantly coming and going, would disrupt the solitude of the area.

A resident of Brookwood Drive, who did not want to give her name, said the street was quiet because there were no businesses there. She said she wanted to keep it that way.

Former Marietta City Councilman Johnny Sinclair said he grew up on Brookwood Drive and doesn’t like to see business attempt to mix into neighborhoods.

“While I was on the City Council, I always tried to vote in favor of strong neighborhoods, and this is in essence a business that is going to have clients come to it, and that is not a good use for a neighborhood,” Sinclair said. “She needs to open up a storefront.”

Johnny Walker, the councilman who represents the area, said he has heard complaints from three or four neighbors about Chabib’s request because they do not want cars on the street every day.

“I have had some people contact me that are against that. They don’t want a business in their neighborhood,” Walker said. “I’m going to support their requests. I think there are plenty of places to have a businesses in Marietta.”

Walker said he is willing to hear both sides of the issue at the public hearing, but he is generally in favor of keeping neighborhoods separate from commercial areas.

“If you open the door for (businesses) then it’s just going to be more and more of that,” Walker said. “I think we need to keep neighborhoods as neighborhoods, and not let businesses creep into them.”

Chabib, who is a licensed counselor and worked in Cobb County schools for 25 years, said her business would focus on spiritual guidance and counseling for women.

“It’s more of a personal growth, spiritual growth type of counseling,” she said.

The counseling service would start small, Chabib said, so she might have a few clients each week.

“It would be like having a friend come over once a month,” Chabib said. “I don’t think the traffic is ever going to be an issue because it’s something I’m doing on the side.”

But Sinclair said operating a business out of a home could disrespect neighbors’ rights to privacy.

“How would you like waking up every day knowing your neighbor is receiving customers?” Sinclair said.

Comments
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anonymous
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June 20, 2014
This lady is narcassitic. She sees a home and knows it is zoned residential, but buys it thinking as a marcassitic, I don't care, I will get it rezoned. Said all I need to say.
Justin Haygood
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June 18, 2014
I would have 0 problems with it. There's a difference between operating a 1 customer at a time in your home on an occasional basis and running a Wal*Mart out of your home.
Col. Mustard (Ret.)
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June 18, 2014
“We bought the house because I wanted to have a good location for a business.”

Shouldn't you have done that before you moved? I have nothing against Ms. Chabib and hope that she can succeed wherever she puts her office or business, but it is NOT in a residential neighborhood. If they bend to her wishes the council is only opening the door for more of this. The lawyers are already lining up.
try home chef
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June 18, 2014
If Ms Chabib wanted run a chef / bakery / box-lunch business out of her home like so many other ladies of historic Marietta run out of their homes, I am sure it would not be a problem at all.

Chabib is just in the wrong business, what with the church manufactured stigma against therapy.

You'd think confirmed bachelor Sinclair would recognize a stigma manufactured by a church and say "Hey, that stigma is not right," wouldn't you? How ironic he does not.
Hey Now
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June 18, 2014
What does religion have to do with any of this?
west Cobb4
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June 18, 2014
The first question I have is whether Ms. Chabib inquired about the zoning and possibility of operating a business at this location prior to purchasing the house. Looking only at the street view on Google Maps it appears the neighborhood is very peaceful and pretty. There is not a hint of commercial activity anywhere along Brookwood that I can see. Some localities allow music teachers to use their homes to operate a business with less strict zoning guidelines but those tend to draw students from the neighborhood. Is this a practice in Marietta? I'd side with the neighbors on this one. It's not likely that Ms. Chabib's customers would be drawn mainly from the surrounding neighborhood.

Scared to Go Outside
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June 18, 2014
Counselling in a residential neighborhood. "“It’s more of a personal growth, spiritual growth type of counseling,” she said."

I has a psychologist neighbor once who took clients at home on weekends. One day I looked out side and there was a man in a loin cloth wearing a turban sitting in his front yard chanting. Police were called and they took him away. Another time there was a teenage girl screaming in his driveway. I do not recommend having this kind of business in a peaceful residential neighborhood.
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