Granted:DEP Commissioner Rules to Allow Wynn Chapter 91 License

By Seth Daniel

The suggested fishing pier near the Wynn Boston Harbor may have to be tallied up as the one that got away, but the bigger fish – that being the Wynn Boston Harbor – is in the pan and the project is ready to start cooking.

On Friday at noon, Martin Suuberg, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner, issued a decision on the Wynn Chapter 91 waterways license affirming the hearing officer’s recommendation to allow the license to be granted.

“I adopt the Recommended Final Decision of the Presiding Officer in all respects with one exception,” wrote Suuberg.

However, that one exception included eliminating a new fishing pier amenity and a new canoe/kayak launch amenity suggested by the hearing officer to be put off-site near the casino.

Those two new amenities first proposed in the July 15 report of the hearing officer were highly regarded and hailed in Everett. So, it was with a little bit of disappointment that they were eliminated.

“I do not adopt the recommendation inclusion of a new Special Condition for the fishing pier and canoe/kayak launch,” he wrote. “However, my review of the record concludes that the project as already conditioned serves a proper public purpose and provides greater benefit than detriment to the rights of the public in the tidelands. The project facilities for water-dependent activity comply with [state law]. While the Recommended Final Decision correctly notes that these amenities are described in the Municipal Harbor Plan, there is nothing in the record of either the consideration of the Written Determination or the appeal that discusses what an appropriate level of contribution would be for these additional off-site improvements.”

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria cheered the decision despite the lack of the two new amenities.

“I could not be more thrilled about today’s news from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg,” said the mayor on Friday. “As a result of his fair and thoughtful decision to allow the Chapter 91 waterway permit, we can now go full steam ahead with the Wynn casino project. This change will hugely add to the quality of life for our residents, our neighbors, and the tourists that will soon be visiting our city.

It has been a journey to get to this point,” he  continued. “From a rigorous ballot question campaign – that was met with rousing support from the residents of Everett – to years of negotiations with surrounding cities, we have fought to bring this asset to the city. I am grateful to all the dedicated individuals who have committed themselves to this casino project and, as always, to the residents of Everett for wholeheartedly welcoming this project. Without their tireless efforts, this vision could have not become a reality.”

The decision clears the way for Wynn to begin construction after a short waiting period to allow for any appeals of the decision.

That waiting period will be completed on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 5 p.m.

Also, if the parties that brought the appeal, meaning Somerville, wished to appeal to Superior Court, they have 30 days to do so, explained Suuberg in his letter.

Wynn Boston Harbor President Bob DeSalvio reiterated comments from the previous week, saying they were abiding by the waiting period and would move full speed ahead.

“Crews and resources are being readied and mobilized,” he said. “Once we have the license in hand, construction of Wynn Boston Harbor and the eventual hiring of 4,000 union workers will commence immediately.”

The ward councilor for the area, Michael McLaughlin, said he looked forward to seeing the jobs filled and the project moving forward.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the 4,000 jobs filled and this development taking off like something never seen before,” he said. “I truly hope Mayor Curtatone will step up and become a regional partner not a regional road block. I would like to congratulate the State for having a fair and open process during Chapter 91. At the end of the day, this resort development is not only right for Everett but all of Massachusetts.”

Also within the decision, there were other stipulations noted:

  • Suuberg upheld to uphold the change in the term of the license from 85 years to 50 years.
  • He called for Wynn to continue to operate a water shuttle from the Seaport District in Boston and from downtown Boston for the entirety of the 50-year license term.
  • He also upheld the increase in open space, to 6 acres and not less than 4.36 acres.

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