All signs point to yes for Wynn Boston Harbor’s environmental permit.
State Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton signed on Friday that it’s only a matter of time before Wynn Resorts receives the final approval for the $2 billion casino project in Everett.
Last week, a state environmental officer came out with a 50-page decision backing Wynn’s plans for the casino resort, albeit with some revisions that include adding ferry services, a fishing pier, and a kayak and canoe lunch near the complex. Now, Beaton said the recommendation “bodes well” for the casino operator, which had been forced to shelve the construction after Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone questioned the environmental permit it received in January.
In an interview with the Boston Herald, Beaton said, “I think it’s a set of very sensible recommendations that upholds (the scope of) the general license… I think there was a thorough look into this.”
The final decision, however, lies with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Martin Suuberg, and not with Beaton. The state secretary expects Suuberg to make his decision “within days.”
In her 50-page recommendation, DEP hearing officer Jane Rothchild determined that Somerville had “failed to prove” that the state was wrong in giving Wynn the original license to build a casino that will bring back “to useful life” the 33 acres of land that has been contaminated for decades with lead, arsenic and other pollutants.
“One does not need to be a casino enthusiast to recognize and acknowledge the benefit that accrues to a city when a long dormant contaminated waste site is cleaned up and brought back to useful life,” Rothchild said, according to the Boston Globe.
But the hearing officer also recommended several changes such as shortening the term of permit from 85 years to 50 years, as well as to require Wynn to include nearly 6.4 acres of open space.
Because of Curtatone’s appeal, Wynn had to push back the opening of its gaming palace to 2019. Wynn chair Steve Wynn, however, fully expects to win against Curtatone’s “superficial and groundless” appeal.