The Wynn project in Everett is being tested by a last minute challenge from Somverille, which could essentially trigger an appeal process that would take six months or up to a year to complete. Mayor of Somerville, Joseph Curtatone, stated that for the town of Somerville, it’s not the money. The fight is to address serious and real consequences that the casino will place on the people of the town. The environmental challenge states that people will exposed to vehicle exhaust in high levels which will cause higher rates of asthma, lung cancer and heart disease.
In his statement, the mayor points out that the Wynn casino admitted that 18,000 people per day would be driving to the venue, which will choke the local roadways and pump tons of additional exhaust into the air that the townspeople breathe. Curtatone says that the townspeople are not being protected from the adverse impacts of the project. So, the city has filed the challenge, hoping that the legal system will demand the environmental and traffic concerns are addressed.
The city of Somerville is appealing the Chapter 91 license of Wynn, which was created to ensure the public waterfront is taken into account during the development of the casino. The appeal will be automatically go through a hearing process that can take as long as six to twelve months to complete. This would put the license on hold until the issue is resolved, based on information from the State Department of Environmental Protection.
Michael Weaver is a spokesman for Wynn, who made a statement in regards to the challenge by Somerville, blasting Mayor Curtatone, stating the challenge is a blatant attempt to politicize the issue for his benefit. Weaver called the action by the mayor shallow and obvious, demonstrating a disrespect for the exhaustive work completed by several state agencies in issuing the permit by filing the appeal to further his own ambition politically.
In the appeal, the city states that the casino is at one point only 76 feet from the waters of Somerville and the license is in violation of several state regulations in regards to the development of the waterfront. The term of the license granted for the Everett casino is 85 years and the appeal states this number, given by the Department of Environmental Protection, is in violation of regulations. The appeal also states that the extended term is not warranted based on the public benefit of the development.