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Medford City Council says no to Everett casino

Posted by Jarret Bencks  December 19, 2012 12:58 PM

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Medford City Councilors voiced their opposition to a potential casino development in neighboring Everett Tuesday, voting by a 5-2 margin to oppose any such development on the old Monsanto Chemical Co. site.

The Massachusetts casino law requires any development to receive referendum approval from the host community. It also requires the developer to negotiate mitigation with neighboring communities. Along with the opposition from the Medford City Council, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone has vowed to do everything in his power to block a casino development if it means building a new Interstate-93 ramp through Somerville.

Medford City Councilor Michael Marks -- who lives in Wellington, a  neighborhood about 1 mile from the Everett site -- called for the vote.

"There is no inherent value of having a casino within three-quarters of a mile of a residential neighborhood in our city," Marks said Tuesday, adding he would continue to bring it up at council meetings as long as Everett considered the proposal.

Councilors Breanna Lungo-Koehn, Robert Maiocco, Rick Caraviello, and Robert Penta joined Marks in voting for the resolution.

"You don't have to be a magician to figure this one out," Penta said. "It's just going to have a huge impact."

Traffic on Route 16 in Medford is already a problem and would only be exacerbated by a casino, Penta said.

"It's bad enough now during the holiday season with Kappy's liquors there," Penta said. "Just imagine if there's a casino."

Caraviello said he believed a casino would have a negative impact on Medford businesses.

"A casino sucks the life out of a local economy," he said.

No formal proposal has been submitted for the site in Everett. Councilor Paul Camuso, who voted against the resolution with Fred Dello Russo, said he wanted to wait until a proposal was on the table before weighing in.

"At this point there's no proposal before us," he said. "I want to reserve judgement until there's an actual proposal."

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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