Wynn prevails in Somerville permit challenge

Casino construction can begin after commissioner OK

WYNN RESORTS on Friday moved a big step closer to beginning construction on its $2.7 billion hotel and casino in Everett when a state hearing officer said the Las Vegas company is deserving of a key environmental permit with a handful of modifications.

The hearing officer, Jane Rothchild, recommended to the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection that he approve the permit but change its duration from 85 to 50 years. She also said Wynn should be required to operate its ferry service to the casino for the entire license period, be required to provide 6.38 acres instead of 4.36 acres of open space near the dock, and provide funds for a fishing pier and a canoe-kayak launch near the facility.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

In ruling on an appeal brought by Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Rothchild said the casino would not “significantly interfere” with navigation on the Mystic River. She also ruled that the “preponderance of evidence” supports a finding that awarding the permit was justified because Wynn intends to clean up a polluted site and restore public access to the river.

If the DEP commissioner accepts Rothchild’s recommendation, which is expected, Wynn Resorts plans to start construction immediately.

Rothchild’s decision was released at 4:59 p.m. Friday.