Our officials are supposed to act in the public interest and for the overall good of the communities they serve. The Absecon Zoning Board failed to do so when it decided not to grant an application by AB Visions to lift the 55-and-over age restriction on the Visions development.

Visions, as it was originally conceived, has failed miserably. Nothing is going to change that as long as the age restriction is in place. The project will remain dead and decaying unless a plan can be implemented so that it can be completed and turned into the thriving development that we residents originally envisioned.

That will only happen if it can be marketed as an all-age community. Real estate analysts agree that the market for age-restricted housing - particularly in our region - has evaporated and isn't likely to come back soon. Additionally, those in the market for age-restricted housing are increasingly gravitating to single-family homes, not condos.

Residents of Visions have no options. Our homes are not marketable, and the community we live in is unsustainable. Absecon City Council has been aware of this situation for years. AB Visions has presented several options to move this development forward. The city has offered no plan to rectify the problem, and no relief has been offered to the few residents living out this nightmare.

Absecon has also acknowledged that it is deficient in meeting its legal obligation to provide affordable housing. AB Visions' plan for future development of the project, absent the age restriction, would provide a way for the city to satisfy a large portion of that requirement by designating 60 of the 400 new units as affordable housing. Those units would fit seamlessly into this type of development and eliminate the need to shoehorn affordable housing into existing single-family-home neighborhoods.

It is unconscionable that the Zoning Board ignored these realities and denied a variance that would have provided a pathway for Absecon and Visions to move forward toward a brighter future.

LEWIS LEITNER

Absecon

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