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Woman says she can't build, sell or even give her land away | News

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Woman says she can't build, sell or even give her land away

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- A DeKalb County woman bought a piece of land 30 years ago on a dead end street. Now she's realizing that investment would also go nowhere.

Bobby Boal may be 88 years old, but still remembers the days spent with her husband driving around DeKalb County looking at potential investment properties. She says they made sure each lot could be built on and remembers thinking the little stream on the Cypress Ridge Circle lot would be a beautiful asset.


"It turns out it's not an asset now," said Boal.

Shortly after Bobby and her husband Jan Boal bought the lot in Stone Mountain, they also purchased a Bed and Breakfast in Senoia.

"We got so busy being inn keepers," said Boal.

Their B&B, the Veranda, won accolades. In 1990 it was voted the best B&B in the nation, and as it took all their attention and time, the little lot in DeKalb sat untouched. When her husband got sick, they sold the Inn. When he died, she tried to sell the lot.

That's when Boal learned, "they had changed some of the buffer zones."

In 2009 the county increased the buffer zone for construction next to a stream. The Environmental Protection Division already required a 25 foot buffer, but now the county added another 50 feet to it.

The stream on Boal's lot weaves throughout the .4 acres, making the lot almost impossible to build on. The county says the property owner could request a variance, but Boal says real estate agents didn't want to bother with the hassle.

She tried to donate the land to Habitat for Humanity, but they said they were unable to build in the area. She even wrote a letter, offering to donate the land to the county for a park. While overgrown at the moment, she says it does have the potential to be a beautiful piece of property.

Still everyone said no.

Boal began to wonder, if her land was seemingly worthless, why was she paying so much in taxes? Her property was valued at more than $22,000.

She requested an adjustment with the Board of Equalization. But when her hearing was scheduled she had an unavoidable doctor's appointment. She wrote a letter explaining her frustration, but the request was denied.

She spent a day at the county office trying to figure out why and what she could do next. After all, the land around her was only valued at $2,500. The lots were also vacant, similar in size and features.

Her property value was cut in half, but she still felt she was being treated unfairly. We asked the chief assessor why her property was being valued higher. He agreed it shouldn't be, and promised to have it adjusted.

That will help with Boal's tax bill, but it doesn't solve her long term problem. She doesn't want to pass the tax burden along to her children if the land, in reality has no value.