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Casino has environmental questions to answer.

Byline: Paula J. Owen

LEOMINSTER -- Cordish Companies has been notified by the state it must complete an environmental impact report on its $200 million proposal for a 16-acre slots-only casino complex along Interstate 190.

Cordish went before the state Gaming Commission Monday on its proposal.

Two other proposals are vying for the state's sole slots-only casino license: Penn National Gaming, which is proposing a casino in Plainville, and Raynham LLC, which has proposed a slots parlor at Raynham Park. The state will decide in December which one gets to move forward.

The Nashua River falls in the Cordish project's watershed.

Richard K. Sullivan Jr., secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, told Cordish in a Sept. 6 letter the proposed facility off Jungle Road is subject to review under the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act because it will generate 3,000 or more daily trips on average on roadways providing access to a single site and because it will create five or more acres of new impervious area. The review calls for an environmental impact report.

The proposed casino would include an 111,360-square-foot, multi-story building with space for dining and entertainment venues and 1,250 slot machines. Extensive landscaped areas are also planned, as are a parking area with 854 spaces and a storm water management system.

Baltimore-based Cordish Co. plans to demolish a single-family home on the property, but an existing office and industrial facility would remain and continue operations. The project also would include construction of five access drives off Jungle Road.

Environmental impacts include the alteration of 14.5 acres, the creation of 8.3 acres of new impervious areas, the alteration of 123,040 square feet of buffer zone to wetland resource areas, the generation of an additional 8,430 unadjusted average daily trips, the use of an additional 26,000 gallons per day of water at the site and the generation of an additional 27,000 gallons per day of wastewater, the construction of additional sewer infrastructure and the generation of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the state.

The project will be designed to meet or exceed the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (known as LEED) goals as outlined in the state's Gaming Commission application requirements, the state said.

On the state level, the project will require a Category 2 license from the state Gaming Commission, a vehicle access permit, a sewer extension permit and adherence to state emission policies.

At the local level, among permits and approvals required are a special permit from the Zoning Board, a building permit and an order of conditions from the Conservation Commission or from the state Department of Environmental Protection if the local order is appealed.

Federal permits are limited to a general construction permit for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

"Because the proponent is not requesting state financial assistance, MEPA jurisdiction is limited to the subject matter of required or potentially required permits; however, the subject matter of the Gaming License confers broad scope jurisdiction and extends to all aspects of the project that may cause damage to environment, as defined by the MEPA regulations,'' the state said.
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Title Annotation:Local
Author:Owen, Paula J.
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 11, 2013
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