Zoning Appeal Hearing (29 Vinings Trace)
RE: Petition # ZA 009-21
Variances related to property at 29 Vinings Trace in the Arbor Springs subdivision.
There will be a public hearing before the Coweta County Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday, March 25 at 6 PM. The hearing will be held at the Commission Chambers located at 37 Perry Street, 2nd Floor, Newnan, GA.
The purpose of this hearing is review of a petition filed by Page and Beth Williams. This petition seeks four variances to present zoning restrictions with the end goal of allowing the Williams to operate a short-term rental business (“STR” like an Airbnb) utilizing a structure located behind their Arbor Springs home at 29 Vinings Trace. (See attached Doc. 1)
I apologize for the legalese but to understand what is at issue I will review the relevant zoning restrictions.
Arbor Springs is located in the Cedar Creek District of Coweta County (designated “CC”). This CC district was established to protect this delicate reservoir and watershed area by preventing unrestricted development. The CC district provides for “orderly single-family dwelling development.” (Coweta Ordinance Art 20). Coweta County zoning ordinances define “guest house” as “A detached accessory building used to house guests of the occupants of the principal building, and which is never rented or offered for rent. “(Ord. 3-17-2015). A “guest house” in the CC district is subject to specific additional restrictive provisions. Those restrictions relevant to the present petition (as numbered in Coweta Ordinance Art 20, section 201 (8)) are: (a) The guest house must “meet the yard setbacks of the principal structure.” (b) “The guest house and principal dwelling shall be located on the same lot, which shall be a minimum of ten (10) acres.” (d) The guest house must be no “less than 500 be a minimum of ten (10) acres.” (d) The guest house must be no “less than 500 square feet.” (g) “The guest house is exclusively for housing members of the family and their non-payment guests. Rental of such dwelling is strictly prohibited.” The subject accessory building’s failure to meet the first three requirements stated above prohibit it from being used by any guest- paying or non-paying. That is, this accessory building was permitted for “office space with bathroom & entertainment area/patio,” a designation Coweta has historically required “because [Coweta County does] want to make it as clear as possible that an accessory structure not be used as a second dwelling, or guest accommodations. (email Ben Sewall Community Development to Page Williams dated 7/9/2019). Moreover, subsection (g) prohibits any rental.
Due to several complaints from Arbor Springs residents, the HOA Board first became aware of the Williams operating a STR business in April of 2019. The Board asked the Williams to stop this rental activity. The activity did not stop. After various interactions with both County officials and the Williams, the Board sent a violation letter to the Williams which again took the position that the STR business violated Coweta’s relevant restrictions and, as such, also violated the Arbor Springs Covenants. The activity did not stop. On multiple occasions the County informed the Williams that the rental activity was not allowed. (see attached Doc 2). After various additional actions attempting to have the Williams stop the rental activity the Board filed a formal complaint with the County on November 2, 2020. (see attached Doc 3). On December 7, 2020, the County, through counsel, advised the Williams that to avoid further legal process due to the violations noted by the County they must stop the rental activity unless they obtained the appropriate rezoning and business license. (see attached Doc 4).
While the Williams did not inform the HOA that they filed the zoning petition at issue, the Board learned of the upcoming hearing through several neighbors who oppose the variances sought and oppose the operation of any STR in Arbor Springs. While the Zoning Hearing will address only the zoning aspects of the STR operation, the County and Board have also taken the position that such a business cannot be operated in Arbor Springs, a single-family residential community.
It is important that the Appeals Board knows how the neighbors of 29 Vinings Trace, and more broadly all Arbor Springs residents, feel about the operation of an STR business in Arbor Springs. This is an important issue for all our residents regardless of your home’s proximity to 29 Vinings Trace because permission to operate one STR business in Arbor Springs will open the door to similar business activity throughout our community.
How can you let the Appeal Board know how you feel about the petition in question? (1) You can appear and speak at the public hearing. (2) You can fill out and turn in the Audience Participation Form (found in doc 4) in which you give your opinion but do not speak. (3) You can ask the HOA Board to convey your position to the Appeals Board. If you want the HOA Board to convey your position to the Appeals Board at the hearing please contact Barbara Nelan at BarbaraNelan@gmail.com or 404 543 9001.
The HOA Board would like to present neighbors’ positions as specifically as possible (i.e. how do our neighbors feel, how many contacted us). Also, if you have any questions regarding the hearing or any other aspect of the present issue, please reach out to Barbara.