Residents Seeking Host Community Status for Wynn Casino Project in Everett

September 5, 2013
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Charlestown residents have started an online petition urging officials to declare the neighborhood a host communities for the proposed Wynn Everett Casino.

The petition, which can be found at http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-declare-host-community-status-for-charlestown?utm_campaign=petition_created&utm_medium=email&utm_source=guides, had 430 signatures as of Wednesday.

The residents are joining a growing chorus of Boston elected officials like City Councilor Sal LaMattina and Representative Eugene O’Flaherty who argue that part of Wynn’s proposal includes city property thus making Charlestown a host community.

“Our neighborhood deserves a voice in the decision making process regarding the proposed Casino in Everett, MA,” the petition states. “Wynn has stated that it does not consider Charlestown to be a “host community” under the state gaming statute, despite the fact that parcel of land on which Wynn proposes to build the casino includes approximately 7-acres in Charlestown, despite the fact that the Department of Environmental Protection is requiring remediation (environmental cleanup) of the entire parcel, despite the fact that the entrance to the property is in Charlestown, and despite the fact that the Mystic River access to the property is in Charlestown.”

The petition goes on to state that if Charlestown is granted “host community” status, residents of Charlestown will have the opportunity to vote in favor or opposition of the casino project.

“In essence, Charlestown would have a say in deciding if the casino could be considered by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (who will have the ultimate say),” the petition says.

Another important concern for residents here is the potential for a significant increase in traffic, and impact on daily life in the neighborhood.

“Plans have already been approved by the Boston Transportation Department to reduce traffic on Route 99 by redesigning the Rutherford Avenue and Sullivan Square corridor,” says the petition. “Casino traffic will destroy years of hard work and thoughtful planning for this corridor and negatively impact our neighborhood.”

According to Mass gaming legislation a Host Community is the municipality where the casino or slots-facility will be located or is proposed to be located.  The host community will negotiate with the applicant to develop and approve a Host Community Agreement.

The agreement must identify and appropriately address all impacts the gaming facility will have on the host community. The host community is then required to host a referendum to approve the Host Community Agreement.

Earlier this summer LaMattina wrote a letter to Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan and argued Wynn’s  ENF shows that at least 50% of all vehicles will utilize the Charlestown road system. “Over 50% of the projected traffic to and from the casino will go through Boston, specifically Sullivan Square so I want to know how will the project mitigate the impacts of this traffic on the residents of Charlestown,” LaMattina wrote. O’Flaherty also wrote a letter saying that unless the issues on how a Wynn casino’s impacts on Charlestown are addressed with plans for mitigation he would be left with no other option other that use “the authority as a State Representative in the General Court for the people of Charlestown to oppose this proposal.”