The Sandy Springs City Council approved a home swimming lesson business at its Feb. 19 meeting, legalizing it under a new permit created after the operation became controversial last year.
Allison Dubovsky operates the business in the pool behind her house at 640 Weatherly Lane, in a cul-de-sac in the exclusive Riverside neighborhood. The business license was yanked by the city after complaints about noise and traffic.
The controversy spurred the city to approve in July 2018 a new permitting process specifically for some types of backyard businesses. The council voted unanimously to approve the conditional use permit for the swimming business, Swim with Allison.
Dubovsky’s business drew many supporters from the community to the meeting and 12 comments were submitted in support.
One person spoke in opposition, saying the debate has been made unfairly about the merits of private swimming businesses and how they save lives. The problem is really with the traffic and noise changing and disrupting the residential neighborhood, the resident said.
Dubovsky’s argued the decision to allow these types of businesses has already been made by the city when it approved the new permit system. Her business has complied with those regulations, so it should be approved, she said.
The change approved by City Council in 2018 makes outdoor businesses a conditional use – meaning a permit, plans and public meetings are required – in single-family residential zoning districts. Only “educational,” “recreational” or “instructional” businesses are allowed, only operating in the side or back yards, and with no employees except residents of the house. “Nuisances” and unusual “machinery” would be banned. A minimum of four on-site parking spaces is required, along with fencing or other screening.
The businesses can have a maximum of two students at any one time and a maximum of four per hour. The businesses operate up to six hours per day within certain hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; and no Sunday or holiday hours.