The Everett Planning Board voted unanimously on Monday night to continue the Site Plan Review of the Wynn Everett casino project, with an expected vote on the plan slated for its Sept. 16 meeting.
Several Wynn consultants and officials – including Wynn Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jacqui Krum – packed the Keverian Room at City Hall for the second part of what looks to be a three-part hearing.
At the conclusion of more than an hour of updated information – particularly with new designs that included higher first-floor elevations that accommodate sea level rises – Planner Tony Sousa moved to continue the matter until Sept. 16.
The move was approved by a 4-0 vote, though some in the crowd voiced opposition to the delay, asking why it couldn’t be voted in the affirmative that evening.
“The vote would be Sept. 16; the intent is to take a vote on Sept. 16,” said Chair Fred Cafasso.
Jonathan Soperstein, special Counsel for Everett on the Wynn project, said the Board would benefit from some extra time.
“There are a hole lot of moving parts to the project, but a delay of a few weeks to the site plan probably will not delay getting shovels in the ground,” he said. “So, obviously everyone agrees it’s more important to do this right rather than quickly.”
Wynn consultant Chris Gordon said a delay of a few more weeks would not throw off any of the plans for Wynn.
“While we would always appreciate a vote and wouldn’t turn it down, we don’t mind a few more weeks,” he said. “By waiting until Sept. 16, it will not delay the construction.”
One of the key points of the meeting was that the City’s hired consultants to the Wynn project, LBD Collaborative and TransSystems, presented the Board and Wynn officials a copy of its 70-page review of the plans.
The two entities have been retained by the City to do an independent review of the plans for and to bring up questions.
Gordon said Wynn would take the next few weeks until Sept. 16 to thoughtfully answer those questions in the independent report and implement any suggested changes.
“We will answer all of the questions and concerns in the report in the mean time,” he said. “It won’t just be put aside and sit on a shelf.”
Several public comments were also heard. While there were a number of folks speaking for the project, no one opposed the Site Plan.
“What was presented here tonight and also last month can be said to be overwhelmingly the ‘Wow’ factor,” said Vincent Ragucci Jr. of Everett United. “Every time the Wynn development has been asked to make a change or improvement, they have come back…and made the change without thinking of the cost, but only of the public benefit to Everett. The landscaping alone is probably 10 times more than our City spends on landscaping over the course of 10 years.”
Council Candidate Michael McLaughlin said he is ready to get the project moving, and that Wynn should not be held back for traffic that existed long before.
“They should not be on the hook for 20 years of disaster in that other area,” he said. “I’m tired of Mayor Walsh and the mayors of surrounding communities telling us what’s best for Everett,” he said.
Resident Pat Johnson asked about whether there would be opportunities for boaters to dock short-term
on the waterfront.
Gordon said there would, in fact, be about 17 or 18 slips available to “touch and go” boaters who might want to dock and go to a restaurant or a store.
Others who spoke in favor were Councillor Mike Mangan.