Dunwoody Crier
October 2017

A second residential treatment center for eating disorders is set to open in Dunwoody in early November; this time in the Dunwoody North area. Walden Residential is the first facility in all of Georgia dedicated to providing residential treatment for adults with eating disorders, according to a press release from Walden Behavioral Care, LLC. A treatment center for children and teens opened earlier this year on Manget Way in Dunwoody.
The Walden Residential Center, scheduled to open at 4609 North Peachtree Road on November 7, is located directly across from Peachtree Charter Middle School and is flanked by two single-family homes. The facility will house five beds for adults, 18 years or older of all genders, races and sexual orientation who require advanced treatment for eating disorders.

Under current city code, the facility would require a Special Land Use Permit to open and operate, but Community Development Director William McLeod said that the business was permitted in 2009 under code that was mostly adopted from DeKalb County. McLeod called it a legal non-conforming use and thus is permitted without a SLUP unless the operation were to go out of business for at least six months.
The 2,812-square-foot facility will operate 24 hours, seven days a week and will bring approximately 20 jobs to the area. Staff members include a program director, a medical director, social workers, mental health counselors, nurse practitioners and registered dietitians.

Patients will participate in specialized programming including group and individual therapy, relapse prevention, medical supervision and nursing care, meal preparation and planning and nutritional management and counseling.

Walden also has an outpatient eating disorder location in Dunwoody on nearby Barclay Drive. That facility, known as the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders, is just one-tenth of a mile from the North Peachtree Road location and will accommodate any overflow parking, said WBC Director of Communications Michael McDonough.

No street parking is allowed for the North Peachtree Road location’s staff, visitors or residents and McDonough said the site should accommodate all necessary parking. A small sign will be placed on the front door of the location indicating the business, McDonough said.

McLeod said that cars can be parked in the two-car garage and in the driveway and a small sign is allowed on the property to identify the center, but it will not be near the road.
WBC President and CEO Dr. Stuart Koman said 30 million Americans will be challenged with an eating disorder in their lifetime.

“Many of these cases require a level of intensive therapy and treatment that only residential programs can provide,” Koman said. “This new facility in Dunwoody ensures individuals across Metro Atlanta and the Southeast no longer have to travel hundreds of miles away to receive the best care.”

The new center will host an open house on Tuesday, November 7 from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Participants must RSVP to attend. Details are on the WBC website at www.eatingdisorders.cc

The Manget Way residential treatment center specifically treats boys and girls with eating disorders, mental health and/or substance abuse issues (ages 10-17). Center For Discovery, a California company, purchased the home in late 2014 and the facility opened earlier this year.

Manget Way neighbors were unaware of the center’s planned opening until speaking with contractors who were performing unpermitted work on the vacant home. Several neighbors hired an attorney to fight the opening based on the argument that the center was more a medical facility than a personal care home. Medical facilities are not allowed in areas zoned residential.

The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted to reverse a city zoning confirmation letter to CFD to allow operation of a personal care home at the location. The letter was approved by a city staffer during a time when the city’s Community Development Director position was vacant. CFD prevailed in a lawsuit against the ZBA and the city settled for $850,000, most of which was paid by insurance.

As part of the settlement, the city requested and CFD agreed to maintain a residential appearance of the house, to refrain from posting any business signage and to disallow employee parking on the street.