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.