While some elected officials gave the go-ahead to the Wynn environmental certificate last week, Charlestown’s City Councilor was not one of them.
Despite several pertinent concerns raised by City Councilor Sal LaMattina about the certificate for Wynn, those concerns were not enough to derail the ultimate granting of the critical MEPA certificate last Friday, Aug. 28.
In a three-page comment letter to the MEPA review team and state Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton, LaMattina stressed that Wynn’s plans and the early plans discussed in meetings convened by the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) are not compatible with existing City plans.
“I respectfully ask that your office, as charged by the Gaming Commission with the obligation to determine the full extent of mitigation, finally pay attention t the City’s position and reject this filing,” he wrote.
He said that no one has paid attention to the surface artery option that was agreed upon by residents and the City shortly before the casino in Everett – and on Charlestown’s border – was proposed.
“The City of Boston and the Charlestown neighborhood have committed to a Conceptual Plan for the area that will close the underpass, introduce a street network grid, create open space and induce transit-oriented development,” he wrote. “The City’s entire proposal, which has been the result of extensive study and collaboration with residents of Charlestown, is designed to bring less, not more, traffic to both Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue. Wynn’s proposal, of course, will bring a massive amount of traffic to this area. The City of Boston and its consultants commented extensively on the incompatibility of Wynn’s proposed traffic improvements…Yet, these comments were roundly ignored by Wynn in the (filing).”
LaMattina said the City has been clear in not participating in any planning meetings because there is no discussion of the agree-to surface option. He said Wynn has acted as a bully in forcing a new plan.
“To be clear, the City has been engaged in a planning process long before Wynn proposed its casino and has been clear in what it seeks,” he wrote. “That position – that the City’s plan for the City’s streets is fundamentally incompatible with what Wynn has proposed – was made clear, yet again, at a second meeting convened by MassDOT. It is astounding to me how Wynn can be permitted to bully the City into having to accept a proposal that it does not want and cannot afford…I am concerned that a MEPA certificate calling for either inadequate mitigation or mitigation that is not compatible with what the community wants and, in any event, is not funded, will force the City of Boston to pay for these improvements…Neither MEPA nor the Gaming Commission nor MassDOT can dictate how the City of Boston chooses to layout or reconstruct its roadways.”