Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone was one of the fiercest opponents of the upcoming Wynn Harbor Casino Resort in Everett, Massachusetts.
The Mayor and the City of Somerville had filed a number of lawsuits against Wynn Resorts to stop the construction of the Wynn Harbor casino.
Mayor Curtatone recently announced that the City would no longer pursue legal action against the casino.
Earlier this week, Curtatone announced that his administration would be dropping all court challenges filed against the Wynn project. He stated that he was satisfied as the recent changes made by Wynn Resorts to the waterfront permit addressed most of his concerns.
Construction work on the project was halted due to the lawsuits filed by the City of Somerville but work began earlier this month after a critical environmental permit was granted.
The challenges raised by the Curtatone administration has resulted in several changes to the permit issued to the Wynn Harbor casino. The casino has seen a reduction in its licensing term from 80 years to 50 and has been ordered to operate a ferry service in order to mitigation traffic congestion issues. Wynn Boston Harbor has also agreed to allot more space for public access than previously agreed upon.
Curtatone said that filing a legal challenge against the Wynn waterfront permit had helped in sorting out the majority of the problems that the community had with the project. He also went on to say that the agreement to run a ferry service addressed several concerns regarding the management of traffic around the casino.
In a statement, Mayor Curtatone said
I want to be clear, our appeal was never about stopping the casino but rather about our civic duty to protect the health, safety, and quality of life of our residents. While we did not get everything we asked for, the appeal did yield significant and meaningful results for our residents, so we feel the process worked
A spokesperson for the city has confirmed all four pending court appeals against Wynn Resorts would be withdrawn. The city has spent close to $400,000 in legal fees pursuing legal challenges against the project. Over the past few months, relations between the Mayor and the Wynn camp have thawed significantly. Casino officials have indicated that the Mayor and Chairman Steve Wynn have been in contact regarding the project.
Curtatone has said that no additional funding will be provided by Wynn Resorts to Somerville for withdrawing the lawsuits. The city already has a prior agreement with Wynn Resorts which pays the city $650,000 per year as mitigation payments.