Channel 2's Mike Petchenik reports on the loophole in a county ordinance that prevented leaders from voting on the project.

Neighbors, church concerned with adult-only hotel set to be built

An Ohio-based hotelier plans to open Belamere Suites on Antioch Road in Cumming sometime next year.

“We are concerned because it’s an adult-only hotel that’s designed for romantic getaways,” neighbor Paula Duncan told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “We think the location is causing us to stress.”

The hotel will sit just feet from the 150-year-old Antioch Baptist Church.

Pastor Travis Bridgeman told Petchenik he worries about the message the hotel’s business model sends to the community.

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“When people come to this location here, we know what’s on their mind,” he said.  “There’s better locations.  Build in an industrial location that doesn’t affect families, home life, and particularly a house of worship.”

Neighbors gathered more than 2,000 petitions opposing the project, but the petition won’t go to Forsyth County commissioners, because they won’t vote on it.

A county spokeswoman told Petchenik that the law doesn’t require commission approval on projects that are less than 5 acres. Because the land is already zoned commercial and the project will take up 4.72 acres, it won’t require commission vetting.

“The commissioners’ hands are basically tied,” said Duncan.  “They can’t stop it.”

Attorney Ethan Underwood told Petchenik his clients intend to be good neighbors.

“This hotel hosts everything from marriage encounters to church groups and they’re hoping to bring that great product to Forsyth County,” he said.  “It’s high-end, it’s on the up and up and we’re excited to have them in Forsyth County.”

Underwood said the hotel has already been successful in Ohio and the owner hopes to continue that success in Cumming.  He said construction could begin sometime next year.

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