Reporting from sources, such as the Boston Globe report, the City of Boston has filed a lawsuit in a new effort to block the development of a the casino development planned for Everett waterfront. The lawsuit challenges the validity of a vital component needed for Wynn Resorts to begin construction.
Among the arguments detailed in the lengthy 41-page suit is an assertion that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission made an error by entitling the Wynn a casino license prior to mapping out a complete a solution for the Sullivan Square traffic debacle.
The 10,000 plus page traffic plan for the devlopment has gone through numerous revisions and debates since it was filed in 2013.
State Transportation Secretary, Stephanie Pollack, has publicly supported the measures Wynn has taken to address the traffic and transit issues at the heart of the controversy surrounding the company’s new $1.7 billion casino development along the Evertt waterfront.
In a past letter, Massachusetts’ top transportation official addressed environmental officials in favor of awarding the much needed key state permit to Wynn. Pollack asserted that Wynn’s recent plans for key improvements in transit will address some of the area’s issues with congestion in the short-term while awaiting a longer-term fix. Sullivan Square, located at the head of the proposed casino’s entry, is well-known for its traffic congestion.
In her letter, addressed to the environmental officials, Pollack writes, “As you know, this area has been subject to extensive planning over the past decade, and the long-term issues there go well beyond those posed by the proponent’s development,”
However, with Wynn’s proposed changes, including an investment of $7 million into the city’s subway operations, Pollack does not believe that the Casino’s development would further exacerbate the area’s congestion.
Pollack believes that more work is needed to find workable solutions to the area’s notorious congestion issues. Pollack states, “We believe that these longer-term issues are best addressed through a regional working group.”
The Secretary’s letter was received on the heels of previous headlines which highlighted a letter from Attorney General Maura Healy who called on Boston officials to deny Wynn the permit until a more permanent solution to address Sullivan Square’s traffic has been reached. The Attorney General is opposed to the Casino’s development and subsequently lives in a neighborhood that may be affected by the project’s development.
Other letters have been filed objecting to the Casino’s permit application. Boston, Somerville, and Revere are counted among those who filed letters Friday. Most of the objections were filed on the assertion that the casino project will have a negative impact on the already congested area.
The proposed Wynn Casino will be one of the state’s largest single private developments ever. Despite the potential for an expansion in area revenue, Mayor Joseph Curtatone wrote, “No long-term planning was involved, and the proposed casino will not be phased,” he further supposed that “The casino and all of its impacts will hit quick and will hit hard.”
The new lawsuit places Mayor Martin J. Walsh and casino mogul Steve Wynn in stark opposition with one another. In the recent past, Walsh and Wynn had maintained the appearance of working to bridge the gap in understanding over the proposal, searching for common ground.
The city surmises that the new casino will generate a total of more than 20,000 automobile trips per day adding to the traffic problems of the already congested area.
Secretary Matthew Beaton required that Wynn help pay for and participate in a new effort to address the area’s long-standing traffic problems as caveat for the approval of the casino’s required certificate.
The lawsuit, alleges that Wynn ignored many of the concerns about the effect the large development complex would have on the area’s traffic and specifically the effect would have the congested Charlestown neighborhood nearby.
An exasperated Wynn spokesman, Michael Weaver, told the press, the company had not received the complaint by the city, “Once again, the City of Boston has not allowed Wynn to see their complaint directly but instead has used the media to deliver its inflammatory claims.”
Weaver in a prepared statement spoke for the company saying, “This is certainly an unproductive way for the city to engage in a dialogue with our company, and will be unlikely to benefit the citizens of Boston; yet it is likely to force the citizens to carry the burden of ever-increasing legal fees.”
The new complaints outlined within the 41-page legal document are listed in addition to complaints listed in a previous pending suit against the gaming commission. In the previous suit the City of Boston challenges the Commission’s 2014 decision to award the Wynn development the region’s sole casino license.
In the past, Mayor Walsh has attempted to obtain an array of judgments against the development, from the cancelation of the casino to Boston being named as the Casino’s host city. The status of host community would allow Charlestown residents to obtain a vote which could possibly halt or delay the development of the casino. The designation may also mean that Wynn could be on the hook for annual multi-million dollar payments from to the city in order to operate.
A spokeswoman for the Mayors office confirmed that a lawsuit was filed but declined to say more.
In recent past, the administration stated that it “takes the concerns of local communities seriously” concerning traffic congestion in Sullivan Square.