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Andover to host forum on proposed Tewksbury slots parlor

Posted by Marcia Dick  August 1, 2013 06:34 PM

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The Andover Board of Selectmen on Tuesday will host a public forum to discuss a $200 million slots parlor proposed for 30 acres off Route 133 in neighboring Tewksbury.

The forum will be held at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall Library.

John Ziembra, ombudsman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, is expected to discuss the state’s gambling law, particularly a provision that requires a casino company to negotiate the effect of its development with surrounding communities. Penn National Gaming, which proposes to build a slots parlor in Tewksbury near the Andover line, last week designated Andover a surrounding community.

"There is a serious concern about traffic, public safety, and the overall impact of that facility would have on our town,” said Andover Selectman chairman Alex Vispoli.

In Tewksbury, residents will soon decide if the development — 1,250 slot machines, restaurants, and other entertainment venues — is a good deal for that town of nearly 29,000.

Tewksbury's Special Town Meeting will be held Aug. 20 to consider a zoning change to allow an entertainment use in an area now zoned for business, the Globe reported last month.

The Tewksbury meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. A two-thirds majority vote is required for a zoning change. If new zoning is approved, a special election would be held on Sept. 21 for voters to decide if a slots parlor should be located in town.

‘We want to hear from people, because we want something that fits the community.''

“The residents are ultimately going to decide it,” said Scott Wilson, chairman of the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen, told the Globe last month. “I am glad we have this opportunity. The revenue [potential] could be a real difference maker for the town.”

Looking for more coverage of Andover? Go to our Your Town Andover page.

Kathy McCabe can be reached at kmccabe@globe.com.

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