Since December 2014, the number of substantiated complaints regarding home business owners in Dunwoody is:
ZERONone of the documented home business owners in Dunwoody had any complaints lodged against them, regardless of their activities.
There were four complaints filed against other homeowners with claims of "commercial activity" in various forms but could not be substantiated by code enforcement. Those cases were closed with a "no violation" note.
Again, the data straight from the City of Dunwoody itself confirms that home businesses and their owners are not an inherent nuisance that requires extra oversight or public hearings for customer contact.
Home business nuisances are the rare exception, rather than the rule, and can be addressed individually rather than restricting the majority. Just like animal owners.No one has ever advocated for allowing "nuisance" activity. On the contrary, it is important to nip true neighborhood problems in the bud as they happen. What most people forget is that in the US system of jurisprudence, the burden of proof is on the one doing the complaining. When you report to the City, this isn't the same as your local homeowners' association meeting or over-the-fence gossip session. Filing a complaint requires PROOF. In this day and age of cameras on every smartphone, it isn't hard to capture photos and videos confirming your complaint.
This article in an issue of the Dunwoody Reporter last month features an interview with Dunwoody's code enforcement chief, Tom LaPenna, who offers some valuable insights into his job and ideas to make your code complaint stick.
Dunwoody code compliance officer’s job focuses on safety, aesthetics and signs
The article mentions last month's DHA meeting where LaPenna was a guest speaker. The meeting was also summarized on John Heneghan's blog where he ran down a list of common code complaints.
Here's the article - note the conspicuous lack of mention of home businesses.
That last one is important because John was one of the city councillors who struck down a change to our municipal codes that would have allowed home business owners to have limited customer contact with an administrative permit instead of the full SLUP required now. He also requested data from other cities regarding their rates of home business ownership and how they were regulated. Except for Doraville, all other cities in the survey had higher rates of home business ownership and less regulation with no increase in code enforcement problems.
Dunwoody City Council elections are in November and our Mayor and at-large council members are up for re-election. Of those running (to date) Denny Shortal, Lynn Deutsch, and John Heneghan have all stated consistent opposition to home business owners and their customers and have stated their support for procedures that force these homeowners to prove they are innocent of any nuisance activity after being presumed guilty, should they publicly request a permit for limited customer contact.
Dunwoody's own code enforcement data show that home business owners are not a nuisance. That includes those with clandestine customer contact. Should a home business owner vote for a candidate that wants to restrict an activity even if they are not causing a problem in their neighborhood?
This question will be explored again before November. Stay tuned....