Ever since Wynn Resorts announced plans to develop its Wynn Boston Harbor casino resort, the company has faced stiff opposition and lawsuits from a number of parties who believe that the casino project will cause more harm than good.
The $2 billion casino project in Everett, Massachusetts first faced multiple lawsuits from the City of Boston and after a long drawn out legal battle, Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh managed to reach an agreement. Wynn Resorts received approval from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in early Jan for a critical environmental permit and appeared to be finally making progress in developing its casino resort.
However, not long afterwards, the City of Somerville filed multiple lawsuits against the Wynn Boston Harbor casino resort, one of which challenged the environmental license stating that the project which will be developed close to the Everett- Somerville-Boston line will have a negative impact on the environment and traffic conditions. Joseph Curtatone, the Mayor of Somerville challenged a number of conditions on the environmental permit and as a result construction work on the casino could not proceed.
The DEP reviewed the concerns filed by the City of Somerville and DEP commissioner Martin Suuberg decided to issue Wynn Boston Harbor a waterfront construction license after making a few changes to the licensing permit. Some of the key changes included reducing the timeframe of the casino license from 85 years to 50 years, making it mandatory for Wynn Harbor to operate a water shuttle service between Everett and Boston; and informing Wynn that they must expand the minimum amount of public space around the casino by an additional 2 acres.
In a statement, Robert DeSalvio, President for Wynn Boston Harbor said “This hopefully concludes one of the longest and most publicly scrutinized environmental licensing award in the history of the Commonwealth. Crews and resources are being readied and mobilized. 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 City of Somerville has a week to decide if it wants to appeal the decision. Somerville representative Denise Taylor stated that the city was currently considering its options. Mayor Curtatone’s administration has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose the project and the City of Somerville still has a number of lawsuits pending against Wynn Boston Harbor casino.
The Mayor issued a statement saying that his intention was not to prevent the casino from launching but to ensure that City of Somerville’s health, environmental and waterways concerns were properly addressed. Curtatone stated that the new licensing conditions issued by the DEP would provide more benefits for the city.
If everything goes as per plan, the Wynn Boston Harbor casino resort will open to the public in 2019.