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Decatur Planning Commission recommends approval of boutique inn

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Decatur Planning Commission recommends approval of boutique inn

Decatur City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA – On Oct. 11, the Decatur Planning Commission recommended the approval of an 8-bedroom boutique inn at 620 Pinetree Drive as well as text amendments to substitute gender-neutral pronouns in parts of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

After the first order of business yielded a tense first five-and-a-half hours of the meeting, the last hour covered these two agenda items.

Talia and Joe Bunting submitted a request for a conditional use permit at 620 Pinetree Drive, which falls under the R-60 zoning district.

Anne Fayssoux lives across the street from the proposed development in the Hampton Court Condominium complex. She expressed concern for the “permanent change” it would bring to her neighborhood.

“Pinetree Drive is a really special road in Decatur,” Fayssoux said. “We have a book club, we have spring and fall neighborhood get togethers, we all walk our dogs together…we have very elderly residents in the area that we take care of, and it’s just a very special area that, we feel, would be harmed by plunking a commercial enterprise right in the middle of it.

“Our second concern is that it really isn’t going to be a benefit to our neighborhood…they plan to charge somewhere between $300 and $500 a night,” she added.

“And it strikes me so ironic that we’ve talked about affordable housing, and here we are now talking about a $500 a night place to stay in Decatur.”

Another Hampton Court Condominium resident, Carol Rappold spoke at the podium about the Buntings’ proposal, calling on her own experience with the lack of affordable housing in Decatur.

“It was only after we retired and sold the house we lived in that we could buy a little place in Decatur,” Rappold said. “It is a big economic asset, and now we’re talking about just doing something I can’t believe the city of Decatur would do to me. Just put a business right across the street from my house.

“This is a place that is in business to make money. So, why wouldn’t you have as many micro parties as possibly you could? And that means there’s going to be people and alcohol and parties quite frequently, which I think, is detrimental to what my house would bring on the market.”

In total, five Pinetree Drive residents addressed the commission with concerns, asking them to deny the request. No attendees spoke up in support.

After deliberation, the commission voted to recommend the approval with conditions, including:

— The owner has an outstanding contractional relationship with offsite parking for special events and overflow situations

— Adheres to the terms of section 6.5.7.B.2 of the UDO

To see the staff report about this project, click here.

Vice-Chair Mike Travis voted to deny the recommendation, saying that he couldn’t support the commercial use of the property.

The last order of business was a request by the city manager’s office for text amendments to Article 7, Article 11 and Article 12 of the UDO to substitute gender-neutral pronouns.

Decatur Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill presented the proposed text amendments to the commission.

“Such words as manmade, chairman, vice chairman, he/his, himself – those are the terms we’re wanting to make more gender neutral,” Threadgill said.

No attendees approached the podium, but one person flashed a thumbs up from the crowd.

The commission unanimously recommended the approval of the proposed text amendments.

For the agenda and full meeting recording, click here.

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