"gun choe" in English is in the area of but is used in some similar situations where it can mean near but again is not exclusive. Many Korean speakers of English don't realize the because they have only learned one or two ways of saying in English do to lack of long term full exposure to English. Also, English speakers who only speak one language English have a similar lack of understanding in this area. It really takes a group of Multilingual English and Koreans in the group to pick up these nuances. Duo lingo is trying there best and have a great base platform. Now it is time to start encouraging cross cultural grouping of contributors when possible.
Nope, can't use "to" with "near" in English. "X is near Y" or "X is close to Y" work. "X is near to Y" and "X is close Y" do not.