Alleged illegal care home cited for violations

By Joel Hall


Clayton County fire, code enforcement, and planning and zoning officials have issued citations to a home that authorities say has been operating illegally as a personal-care home.

On Thursday at 2 p.m., authorities reported to a two-floor townhouse in the 6000 block of Camden Forrest Cove owned by Antwan Riley. According to Landry Merkison, battalion chief of the Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services department, the home was cited for over-occupancy, fire code violations, and for operating without a business license.

"There were seven individuals staying in the home," Merkison said. "All of them reported to have some issues, whether physical or mental. He had too many people in the home ... That area is not zoned for a business ... He had no business license, even if it could be there, and it had no fire safety features."

Merkison said the individuals in the home were being charged $500 to $650 a month to stay in the townhouse, despite the fact that the house has only two bedrooms. He said the house lacked sprinklers, lighted exit signs, smoke detectors, and fire alarms -- features necessary in a sanctioned care home.

Clayton County Planning and Zoning Administrator Kc Krzic said, that while the neighborhood the home is in, is zoned as a multiple-family district, Riley lacked the conditional-use permit necessary to house all the individuals living there.

"In a single-family residential district, you can have five or less persons as a permitted use," she said. "After you have six or more, then, you need a conditional-use [permit]. In a multi-family district, if they want to have a personal care home, it has to be licensed by the state, and it requires a conditional-use permit. He didn't have either. It wouldn't matter how many people ... [were] living in the house."

According to Merkison, Riley did not stay in the home, which was purchased by Riley in 2002. He said Riley would be required to report to Clayton County Magistrate Court in April to respond to the citations.

"We did not force them [the residents] to leave, but we told the owner that they can't stay there," Merkison said. "It is up to the owner to relocate them."