Mayor Domenic Sarno announced that the city has arranged for public presentations by the two casino proposers covering clarifications of their traffic plans, entertainment, non-casino but related components, including refinements in response to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission draft evaluation criteria.
The presentations will be open for the public on March 11 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at city Stage. CityStage is located at 1 Columbus Center, Springfield, MA 01103.
The purpose of the presentations is to allow the proposers to present and explain certain refinements in their proposals. The refinements are related to traffic and the non-casino aspects developed in response to the city's requests for clarifications and the updated Draft Evaluation Criteria issued by the MGC. The presentation will not involve a question and answer portion.
The presentations will be addressed to a panel consisting of representatives of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors' Bureau, the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, Inc., Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, The Springfield Department of Public Works and the Traffic Consultant who reviewed the proposals on behalf of the city. The moderator will be the city's casino consultants, Shefsky & Froelich. The Mayor's Ad Hoc Casino Advisory Committee as well as the city Internal Review Committee will also be in attendance.
The city expects each proposer to send representatives of their companies to make the presentations in a format that is conducive to the audience in attendance, as well as an audience watching on a live web-based video feed and/or television broadcast. The city will arrange for live stream through its website (www.springfield-ma.gov/casino) and has arranged a live feed through masslive.com and their local television partner, CBS 3, and it will also be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 293. A recording of the proceedings will be posted to the Springfield Redevelopment Authority webpage. The presentations will be open to the public on a first come basis. cityStage doors will open at 2:00 p.m. The area will seat approximately 400 persons. There will be no reserved seating.
Both developers will appear before the city council Committee of the Whole to respond to questions from the council and to address issues as to suitability as raised by some council members on March 12. In addition, each developer will provide input to the city council as to their perspective of the zoning issues, as well as the subject of public safety in the downtown area.
Both casino companies have submitted phase two, exhibit one, a description of any zoning requirements applicable to the Project and the proposer's commitment to adhere to applicable zoning requirements, including regulations for casinos and casino entertainment complexes adopted by the city. During phase two, exhibit one, the proposers were allowed to contact city employees at the various city departments to obtain information customarily needed by a developer interested in developing a building site within the city. For example, this would include information concerning zoning, permits, building codes and restrictions, sewer, water, electricity, police, fire, and traffic. However, contacts with the mayor, the Mayor's Office, the Chief Development Officer, and members of the city council were prohibited.
The city council is responsible for land use legislation, and acts as the city's Special Permit Granting Authority under the city's zoning ordinance. As such, this meeting will provide a public forum for the city council and the casino companies to interact on these important issues. Based on the submissions, it is anticipated that the city may want to amend its zoning ordinance and consider the implementation of an overlay district at each casino site in order to streamline the development process and act in accord with the policies and regulations of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
The casino companies have also been requested to address the city council as to the issue of public safety concerns of their proposal for the areas in and around the proposed casino site locations.
In the days following the presentations on March 11, the city will initiate negotiations of a host community agreement for the development, construction and operation of a destination resort casino with each of the two casino proposers.
However, commencement of such negotiations does not guaranty that the city will reach an agreement with either MGM or Penn JV.
During the course of such negotiations, if it is in the city's best interests, the city may agree to terms in a host community agreement which differ from those in a proposer's submission. Any host community agreement negotiated with a proposer will require approval of the city's city council as well as the city's voters as required under the Massachusetts Gaming Act. A host community agreement is a requirement for an applicant for a category 1 gaming license.
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