The developers made their presentation to the Gaming Commission, now it's our turn to speak!
The Gaming Commission Public Hearing will go from 8 am to 8 pm. The purpose of the Public Comment Event is to provide members of the public the opportunity to speak about any proposed project(s) within the applicable region.
25 minutes of the top of each hour are already held aside for those who reserved a 5 minute slot ahead of time. Each hour has 35 minutes of five minute slots available on a first come first served basis. Anyone can ask for a five minute slot to speak.
Please show up! Consider coming at least one or two hours during the 12 hour stretch. Bring a written statement to submit in case you do not get a spot to speak.
While we are all very passionate about saving our town from a gambling facility of this scope, we are encouraging reasoned and polite comments at this hearing. There are many factual arguments to be made. Here are a few comments to consider:
*Thompson Hill Road is a residential neighborhood. The parcel is zoned Residential Buffer. The commercial development that is being proposed on Thompson Hill is unequivocally prohibited. To approve this project would require wholesale changes to the Town’s zoning law, which will directly impact all future development in the Town. The developers are trying to force a project of tremendous magnitude way too quickly through the EG Town Zoning and Planning Process. This is poor planning and an unacceptable way to do business. There simply will be no way to get the environmental review completed in time for the project to be constructed and operating within the two year time frame that the Upstate Gaming Act requires.
*East Greenbush households have an average median income of $78,000. East Greenbush does not meet the intent of the Upstate Gaming & Economic Development Act that a gaming facility be located in an economically needy area. The only reason for EG financial distress is due to years of Town mismanagement of funds - including questionable employment contracts and illegal payments to town officials. We do not have a lack of tax base. This information in the article that the developers referenced is whited out in their slide. Also, they say the EG is ranked second when in fact the article is based on alphabetical listing, not financial ranking. They misrepresented the facts, yet again.
*The Town Board resolution that was initially passed to support the gaming facility proposal was enacted in the face of intense public outcry. Additionally, one Town Board member has withdrawn her support due to the developers' changing the size and scope of the project ("bait and switch") and another Board member has been forced to recuse herself due to a "prohibitive conflict of interest."
*The project continues to be downsized so there is no viable guarantee of any proposed economic projections. They claim the downsizing is based on community input, but it comes as a result of self interest only. For example, their original proposal had over 20,000 square feet of retail space. This has been downsized to a 500 square foot gift shop. The reason they did this is that their re-zoning request is based in part on the statement in the Request for Applications that gaming facility projects should include a hotel, restaurants, entertainment venues and similar amenities. 20,000 square feet of retail space would not fit into this definition, so it was downsized. Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Churchill Downs say they are in dialogue with the community, but really they are solely concerned with getting their foot in the door of our town.
*A casino does not belong next to a Girl Scout Camp, a Montessori School, and within walking distance of a High School. Period.
These are just a few reasons why East Greenbush is the wrong place for a gaming facility.
We encourage you to have your comments in writing. Bring copies to submit to the Gaming Commission so they may be entered in the public record. If you have already submitted an email or letter, you may comment again! Even if you don't want to speak or write a comment, please come anyway!
Gaming Commission Public Hearing
Monday, September 22
8 am to 8 pm (come for as long as you can!)
Holiday Inn Albany
205 Wolf Road
205 Wolf Rd
Albany, NY 12205
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