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DETROIT REFERENDUM CHALLENGES CASINO ZONING

Jun 25, 2001 7:35 PM

A state Supreme Court ruling could throw the location of Detroit's MGM Grand Casino into the laps of the voters.

The court will rule this week on whether to allow a referendum on the legality of the zoning under which the casino is operating. The zoning is being challenged by a group called Community Coalition, which sought more minority ownership in the 2-year-old casino and tried to block the casino's zoning.

In an effort to sidestep the initiative, the mayor and City Council inserted an appropriations measure into the referendum ordinance. The city charter bars referenda on bills that contain appropriations.

The legality of the new ordinance is the issue before the court.

An attorney for MGM Grand said he doubts the justices will order the referendum. He stated, too, that he believes the issue is moot since the casino is already up and running.