Woman says Fulton County ignoring request to open business

Woman says Fulton County ignoring request to open business

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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -

A property owner says the Fulton County government has turned a deaf ear to her request to open a business in a section of the community which badly needs revitalization.

Helen Zaver said that she wants to open a Red Roof Inn in south Fulton County, but county officials won't give her the necessary permit.

"It really doesn't make sense to me: why we're still closed, why we don't have a permit," Zaver said. "I've tried to work with everyone in the county to come and look at our hotel, see what we're trying to do."

Her building is located on Fulton Industrial Boulevard. Police have had problems on a stretch of that road. The government recently placed restrictions on businesses if there have been too many 911 calls to the address.

Zaver believes that whatever problems existed in the past --- under the old owner --- shouldn't apply to her.

"My goal is to have a clean, safe environment for every guest that stays here," she said. "To do that, we have security policies and procedures in place for our individual property, but I do need the support of the county in making sure the streets around me are safe and guarded."

Zaver said she's already spent $1.4 million on the business, including $1 million for the property and another $150,000 to pay off old tax debt on the property. She's spent $250,000 on renovations.

"Financially, it could ruin me. Since December, when I bought the hotel, I have a debt to pay, I have bills to pay and I've renovated the hotel without any source of income coming from this property," Zaver said.

She says since January, she's struggled to get someone at the county to consider her application as a new business.

"It makes it very difficult, for me to recommend as a businessperson, anyone else go through this ordeal that I've gone through," Zaver said.  "It makes it difficult for me to say that I want to do business in Fulton County again."

Frustrated, Zaver finally took the county zoning officials to court. She's trying to get a judge to give her the green light to open.

Because of the pending legal action, the county declined to comment on the case.

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