Preserve the ‘Ranch’ as open space, not seasonal homes

I recently read the comments of the developer who is interested in turning the 28-acre "Ranch" homestead property in the Elberon section of Long Branch into yet another residential development.

I find it rather interesting that he believes new luxury homes will all be purchased for summer use only. Risk speculating? They would not bear any burden on the schools and the services provided by taxes, which are extremely high right now.

Long Branch falls far below the state’s 8 percent recommendation for the preservation of open space. The 28 acres commonly known as the Ranch should remain undeveloped. I do not feel comfortable with the developer’s statement that these proposed homes will be purchased for $500,000 or more each, and only be used for summer months. With all oceanfront open space being eliminated by the deep-pocket developers, we would have no more space for recreation and leisure in our community.

I support the preservation of the Ranch as open space. And with these 28 acres as open space, we would still be under 2 percent, showing a great need to consider even more preservation and less development.

Folks who would be interested in seasonal second properties would more than likely look towards the projects in the works on the ocean rather than inland where the ranch is located. How do the people of Long Branch get such a guarantee that the developer would only sell to seasonal residents who would not create additional services and higher taxes associated with schools and municipal services.

City Council over the last eight years has bonded and borrowed foolishly. I rarely agreed with the way it has put us in debt — well over $20 million. As a direct result of this debt, our taxes went up this year.

Bonding for special interest groups to progress a political agenda seems to be OK with this administration. A bond to preserve these 28 acres as open space in Long Branch would be more beneficial to all the people, and not developers and special interest groups.

Bill McLaughlin

Long Branch