Charlestown residents have started a petition to designate the neighborhood a host community of a proposed Everett casino resort so residents can have more say in the approval process of the project.
Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn has proposed a $1.2 billion project that would build a 15-story hotel tower, a 24-hour casino, spa, conference center, nightclub, ballroom, restaurants and shops on site of the former Monsanto chemical plant on the Mystic River in Everett.
Everett residents have overwhelmingly supported the project, voting 5,320 to 833 in favor of it in a binding referendum, but in Charlestown, residents say their community will also be greatly affected by the casino plans.
“The majority of vehicles traveling to the Casino will pass through Charlestown. Also, the entire neighborhood of Charlestown is closer to the Wynn Everett site than approximately one-third of the residents of Everett,” the petition, which had collected 254 signatures by Wednesday morning, read.
As established by the 2011 casino law, a host community, or “a municipality in which a gaming establishment is located,” can negotiate with the developer over the terms by which it would accept the project, such as compensation or services to mitigate impacts of the business. Voters in host communities must also approve casino projects before any project can move forward.
The law also calls for “surrounding” communities of projects to negotiate compensation, but signers of the petition say part of the project sits on land and harbor area within the confines of the Charlestown neighborhood.
“The Wynn-Everett Casino site sits upon a uniquely configured parcel. The interpretation of the Gaming Bill by the proponents of the Wynn Casino currently leaves Charlestown unprotected as a Host Community,” the petition reads.
The Globe reported last month the Menino administration asserted Boston was a host community because of the shape of the city line, which darts across the Mystic River in a thin finger into the edge of site.
Wynn’s plan calls for no buildings touching the city line, and Wynn has said he has no development plans in Boston. But the city is pursuing whether road, landscaping, or harbor improvements may cross the line and possibly elevate the city to a host community.
While petition signers want Charlestown to be declared a host community, they also want to begin negotiating as a surrounding community as they take steps to be named a host community.
“We are losing precious time while the ‘host community’ issue is being debated. Therefore, we also urge you to begin the ‘surrounding community’ negotiations as the first step toward eventual ‘host community’ status. …As it is now our community is not at the table.”
Representatives from Wynn’s company will meet with Charlestown community members Wednesday at the Charlestown Waterfront Coalition to present plans for the casino. That meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Building 114 in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
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