By Seth Daniel
The Wynn Boston Harbor casino has a clear path to opening for the first time since announcing three years ago that it intended to compete for the Greater Boston license at its Everett site.
The City of Somerville announced on Monday afternoon that it would discontinue all appeals of the casino – saying that it had resolved a number of issues that it had with the casino during the Chapter 91 license appeal and would not choose to take the matter to Superior Court.
“The City of Somerville successfully resolved a number of our community’s core concerns regarding the Wynn casino project through our recent appeal of the casino’s Ch. 91 license,” wrote Mayor Joe Curtatone in a statement. “For this reason, we will not pursue further appeal of the license via the courts. I want to be clear; our appeal was never about stopping the casino, but rather about our civic duty to protect the health, safety, and quality of life of our residents. While we did not get everything we asked for, the appeal did yield significant and meaningful results for our residents, so we feel the process worked.”
The news was greeted happily from China by Wynn Boston Harbor President Bob DeSalvio, who received the news while helping to celebrate the opening of the Wynn Palace in Macau.
“With all legal challenges behind us, we can now focus entirely on making Wynn Boston Harbor one of the most powerful job generators and economic catalysts to ever benefit the Commonwealth,” DeSalvio said. “We are pleased to be joined with all our neighboring communities in making this a historic development for all.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he was glad to finally be able to welcome the project without any legal challenges.
“I was pleased to learn that the DEP permit granted to Wynn will not be appealed, allowing construction of this $2.1 billion economic engine to proceed,” he said on Monday night. “This is the most intensely scrutinized development in the state’s history, and it is time for it to be built. I am very proud of the tremendous public benefit already generated by the early phases of the development, including the cleanup of a hazardous and barren industrial site that blocked public access to the waterfront, and the creation of several hundred early-stage construction jobs.”
Curtatone said he was particularly pleased with ensuring that the Wynn ferry will be required to run for 50 years, the entirety of the Chapter 91 license.
“By the Wynn organization’s estimates, the ferry should reduce casino road traffic by an estimated six percent, and in one of the most congested areas of the country, every bit counts,” said Curtatone.
He also cited the decrease in the term of the Chapter 91 license, which was originally 85 years. After the appeal was announced, Wynn and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) worked together to compromise on a plan to knock the license term down to 50 years.
“This means current residents will have greater community benefits now, and the next generation will have an opportunity to reassess benefits within a more reasonable time period,” he added.
Curtatone also indicated he was ready to be a regional partner and that was something Everett officials have been calling on him to do for some time. He also said he has signed on to an agreement to that effect.
“Together with Wynn, the state, and other regional partners, we will continue to seek progress on traffic mitigation and mobility concerns and opportunities as they relate to the casino,” he said. “To that end, I would like to announce that the City of Somerville and Wynn MA, LLC, have entered into an agreement that commits both parties to jointly working to address these needs.”
He said he would like that group to continue working specifically on Regional Planning, Multi-Modal Mobility and Transportation Funding, Bus Transit Improvements and Bus Rapid Transit, Air Quality and Public Health, and Environmental Sustainability.