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Meeting for proposed Saratoga Springs casino
The Saratoga Springs City Council held a special meeting Friday morning to talk about the proposed Saratoga Casino and Raceway expansion. The $30 million plan was announced last year and would include a hotel and event center.
It is a big project, that some in Saratoga Springs want the city to have more input on.
It gives us local control, said Denise McDonald, a Saratoga resident.
Im all for as much control as we can have, even on people who have a great idea, said Robert Maiorano, who lives in Saratoga.
That is why some asked the City Council on Friday to request lead party status in the State Environmental Impact Assessment. That is the highest level of control in the process.
But an attorney, hired by the city, said at Fridays meeting that it is not that easy. He said that state law surrounding video lottery terminals would give precedence to the state agency, in this case the State Gaming Commission. The attorney said that if the city pushed for lead status, it could lead to a lawsuit and cost taxpayers. He said the city lost a similar battle in 2006.
I think we all agree we want as much local control as the law will afford us, without engaging in a lot of lawsuits. That's very costly to the taxpayers, said Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen.
Instead, Mayor Yepsen said she has been working with the Saratoga Casino and Raceway and the State. She said the Saratoga Casino and Raceway has voluntarily come before the city planning board as if it were a regular applicant. And she said it put aside $15,000 to pay for a report on traffic, utilities and storm water. The city expects to receive that next week. Yepsen said that she will send all of that, with a letter, to the Gaming Commission so that the citys input is heard.
We are going to continue down the path we have started which is a very amicable, but firm, holding their feet to the fire, in front of the planning board, she said.
Some councilmembers said they want more concrete input and suggested the city write a letter to the state asking for a larger role called involved party status.
Some residents CBS6 spoke with said they look forward to the expansion because it means more jobs. Saratoga Casino and Raceway has said the expansion would create 260 jobs.
Its jobs, it is progress. Change doesn't have to be bad, said Barb Howe, who lives in Saratoga.