Austell denies permit for residential mentor home

Austell City Council denied an application for a residential mentor program. CONTRIBUTED

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Austell City Council denied an application for a residential mentor program. CONTRIBUTED

The Austell City Council denied on Monday a special land use permit for a residential mentor program at 5925 Mulberry St.

Applicant Thomas Matthews said the respite program would be for children from newborns to age 6 “who come through DFCS” (the Department of Family and Children Services) with seven full-time staff, serving 24/7 on three shifts and including a nurse on site and another nurse on call.

Matthews said, “I’m working with six siblings right now, and this would be a perfect location for the mother to visit them. The older sibling is at Google doing an internship. This group is not riff-raff.”

Five residents spoke against the application, saying it was not a fit for a residential community where many senior citizens reside.

Councilwoman Valerie Anderson and Councilman Scott Thomas noted their application before the city’s planning and zoning commission said the home would serve only boys between the ages of 13 and 18.

“How do we know that you won’t change again?” Thomas said.

Both the planning and zoning commission and city staff recommended denial.