On Tuesday, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said that while they won’t ask environmental officials in Massachusetts to reconsider their approval of a key waterfront development permit for Wynn Resorts’ $2.1 billion Everett casino, however, they are strongly considering appealing the decision in Superior Court.
The deadline for asking the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reconsider Commissioner Martin Suuberg’s July 22 final approval for the waterfront permit was Tuesday, however, the City of Somerville still has until August 22 to exercise its option to file an appeal with the Supreme Court. Curtatone said that now, city attorneys are “continuing to analyze the longstanding impact of this decision on Somerville, according to the Boston Globe.
Four lawsuits have been filed by Somerville against the Wynn Boston Harbor Resort. In addition to challenging the 2014 decision by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to award the casino license to Wynn Resorts; legal challenges to the state’s environmental review, municipal harbor plan, and its determination that the project would benefit the public, are all pending, according to Somerville city officials.
Mayor Curtatone said that the goal of the city has never been to prevent the casino from opening, rather to “mitigate the negative effects on our environment, and protect the health and safety of our residents . . . If we can further those goals by [seeking] a judicial review, we will,” according to the news agency. DEP spokesman Ed Coletta said on Tuesday that since the appeal deadline has come and gone, a license could be issued by the state “within the next few days.”
Meanwhile, Wynn Resorts’ spokesman Greg John said that the Nevada-headquartered company has begun work on elements of the waterfront development not related to the license. He said that upwards of a dozen cranes are already there. A ceremony celebrating the waterfront permit may also be held by Wynn Resorts today, according to John. Once the Chapter 91 license is in hand, the spokesman said construction on the state’s largest private development ever, will be an immediate go.
The DEP’s decision was appealed by Somerville earlier in the year, which forced Wynn Resorts to cease cleanup efforts at the 33-acre site. The city contended that additional steps needed to be taken by Wynn to offset the environmental impacts of the project. Located across the Mystic River from the city of Somerville, the property was once home to a Monsanto chemical plant and the cleanup is estimated to cost $30 million.
About 600 luxury guestrooms and suites will be offered at the five-star luxury resort, outfitted in classic Wynn style. The 150,000 square foot casino floor will be home to 168 table games and 3,242 slots, and include over 64,000 square feet of entertainment and dining venues as well as 77,250 square feet of retail space. The mega-resort casino will also house 32,942 square feet of convention, meeting, and private function space, and a nightclub with 30,000 plus square feet of floor space.