Plans for an assisted living facility on Womack Road were met with an icy reception from members of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association at the group’s monthly meeting.
The April 15 presentation was not the first time the Dunwoody Homeowners Association had seen the proposal. The project was issued a special land use permit by DeKalb County to build in a residential area before Dunwoody became a city.
Members of the homeowners association were skeptical when they heard the builders of the assisted living facility would be asking the city for further accommodations.
Named Berman Commons, the proposed 90-unit assisted living facility would be built adjacent to the Marcus Jewish Community Center. Berman Commons is being built by a nonprofit affiliated with the Jewish Federation.
Ted Sandler, an attorney representing Berman Commons, said his client will be asking the city for a variance to the stream buffer requirement as well as a variance to increase the height of the roof allowed under the zoning code.
Dunwoody’s zoning code limits roof height to 35 feet in a residential area. Sandler said in order for the building to have a traditional gabled roof, the plans for Berman Commons call for the roof to be 42 feet at some points. If they are unable to get the variance, he said, they will look at building a flat roof and putting the utilities on top to meet the city’s height requirements.
Berman Commons is planned in a residential area. Nearby residents of the Oakhurst Walk neighborhood had an ambivalent attitude toward the proposal.
Gregory Jay, an Oakhurst Walk resident, said he thinks allowing the stream buffer variance could improve drainage in his neighborhood.
“Something’s going to go on that land eventually,” Jay said. “Both the roofline and remediation of these streams do impact the people adjacent. I would personally be for them because they help mitigate the impact on our neighborhood.”
Peter Moon, who lives very close to the project, said his neighbors would prefer that the roof height be reduced to 35 feet.
“We conditionally support it. If the height could be lowered we’d be all for that,” Moon said.
But, he said he would rather the city grant the variance to allow a gabled roof for the building.
“My worst fear would be looking at the utilities,” Moon said. “If the only way to get a gable roof is with a variance, I would prefer to do that.”
The Berman Commons application will be considered by the Dunwoody Zoning Board of Appeals in May.