Aldermen Set to End Their Year: Medford Council Opposing Everett Casino Development

The Everett Board of Aldermen will take up a fairly brief agenda next Wednesday, the day after Christmas, but there are a couple of items of note that we wouldn’t want to get lost in the holiday bustle.

Here’s a peek at the agenda for Wednesday, December 26, 2012.

Medford opposing casino development due to traffic

The Medford City Council has sent communication to the city of Everett that it “will not support any development of a Hotel/Casino in Everett until the traffic congestion issues on Wellington Circle and Rte. 16 be addressed first.”

The opposition is notable because the state law requires that casino developers not only receive an affirmative referendum vote of the citizenry from the host community, but that they also work out agreements with neighboring/adjacent communities as well.

The State Gaming Commission does have the power to either approve or order the framework of such adjacent community agreements, if the parties are at an impasse, but so far indications are that the Commission would prefer to see the developers and municipalities work agreements out among themselves.

Additionally, the purported primary developer of an Everett casino, Steve Wynn, has previously walked away from a casino proposal in Foxborough because of community opposition to his plans, signaling that he wants to be welcomed into his new home, not force his way in.

The letter from the Medford City Council is simply a reminder that a casino development in Everett’s Mystic Point (or Lower Broadway) neighborhood is far from a done deal.

DiPerri, Van Campen seeking to change rules about public participation

An item that was held over from the Aldermen’s previous meeting seeks to change the way the Board of Aldermen would engage public participation at Aldermanic meetings.

The proposal would place public participation at the end of the meeting, instead of at the beginning of the meeting, would limit speaker’s time to two (2) minutes apiece and require them to sign in with their name and address before addressing the body.

It’s hard to say that the new rules are designed to eliminate public participation, but it is also hard not to see how that would be the outcome.

No matter how you look at it, the more restrictive rules could intimidate some residents and by placing them at the end of the meeting, residents who wish to be heard would have to attend meetings and wait until all other business is finished, before getting an opportunity to be heard.

In an age when most local governments are looking to create inclusion and transparency, this proposal seems to do the opposite.

Update on L. Knife development sought

Aldermen Michael Marchese and Robert Van Campen will seek an update from the administration on the status of the proposed L. Knife development in the Mystic Point neighborhood.

L. Knife is currently negotiating a purchase and sale and a timeline for the commencement of their business interests in town will be the main topic of conversation.

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