Wynn plans new environmental filing this summer
Casino officials acknowledge many issues unresolved
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
WYNN RESORTS OFFICIALS who plan to build a $1.7 billion resort casino in Everett expect to provide a key filing for their controversial project sometime this summer.
Appearing before state regulators on Thursday, Wynn officials were hesitant to provide a firm date for their Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) filing, saying there were a number of issues that still need to be resolved, including traffic mitigation efforts.
Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Everett, said they plan to meet with state transportation officials and other “stakeholders” next week to discuss Sullivan Square, which is expected to bear the traffic impact of the planned casino on the Mystic River. DeSalvio called Sullivan Square an “important transportation hub” for the region.
In April, Gov. Charlie Baker’s energy and environment chief Matthew Beaton called for a further MEPA review, citing a land transfer between the MBTA and Wynn Everett that he determined was a violation of the MEPA statute because it occurred before the MEPA review was complete.
The land transaction is currently in escrow as Wynn officials rework their MEPA filing. The mayor of Revere, Daniel Rizzo, who backed an unsuccessful Wynn rival for the eastern Massachusetts casino license, has called for an investigation of the transaction.
“Once the MEPA process is completed, that transaction can be completed again,” state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton told Boston Herald Radio this week.
Gaming Commission chair Stephen Crosby said Wynn appears to be moving ahead in an efficient manner. He added that the company is working to obtain 35 to 40 required permits from agencies for the project.
The casino is scheduled to open in 2018, according to Wynn.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced last week amendments to its civil complaint against the commission that seeks to nullify Wynn’s license award and disqualify the existing commissioners from participating in future proceedings regarding the awarding of the Region A license.
Among other things, the Walsh administration says the only legal access point to the Everett casino is through Horizon Way, which is not zoned for a casino, forcing casino patrons to travel through Charlestown and adding to congestion and public safety considerations in the Rutherford Avenue and Sullivan Square areas. Walsh says Wynn also failed to meet a deadline to file for permits with the Boston Public Improvement Commission.
“The reality is it’s going to be a best foot forward to try to get all the players to sit down and actually come up with a way to work through this,” Beaton said.
Beaton, a former state rep who served with Walsh in the Massachusetts House, said he was trying to facilitate conversations between Wynn, the Walsh administration and state transportation officials.
“We’re actually all getting together next week for a meeting to discuss these issues,” Beaton said.Beaton added: “The mayor and I have a friendship that goes back to the House. He’s a great guy and a good friend. While we do talk on occasion, he’s been really good about this and is just allowing us to just do the process and not trying to get involved on a personal level.”
Michael Norton contributed reporting.