Wynn Boston Harbor clears final hurdle
July 25, 2016 10:42 AM
by Phil Hevener
The start of construction on the $2 billion Wynn Boston Harbor casino resort has been given a green light by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
The DEP approval of a waterfront permit for the 33 acres in the city of Everett across the Mystic River from Boston appears to end a lengthy and contentious battle for Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, which hopes to open Boston Harbor about 30 months after construction begins.
The last hurdle was created by the neighboring city of Somerville whose mayor had appealed the issuance of a DEP permit insisting Wynn Resorts should be required to take additional steps to offset the project’s environmental impact.
But Department Commissioner wrote in his decision that a review of the record caused him to conclude the use of the waterfront acreage that was once the site of a Monsanto Chemical plant “serves a proper public purpose and provides greater benefit than detriment to the rights of the public...”
The Boston Globe reported that Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone was not prepared to say Friday if the city will appeal the DEP decision.
On Friday, Curtatone claimed a partial victory, saying the “ruling is a success for us in several ways.” For instance, the DEP’s requirement of ferry service to the casino would “help reduce road traffic and resulting particulate pollution in our neighborhoods.”
“This particular appeal was never about stopping the casino but rather about exercising the city’s statutory rights of appeal to ensure our city’s environmental, health and waterways concerns were addressed,” Curtatone said.
The permit also calls for Wynn Resorts to increase the amount of open space at the casino by about two acres, to 6.5 acres. The DEP also reduced the term of the permit from 85 years to 50 years.