EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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August 11, 2013

Andover frustrated by lack of information on proposed casino

Officials say there is little time to do a comprehensive review of project


Making matters worse is that there is so little time to do a comprehensive review of the project.

“The timeframe is very short,” Materazzo said. The proposal is going before Tewksbury Town Meeting voters on Aug. 20. A townwide referendum is scheduled for Sept. 21. Penn National has a deadline of Oct. 4 to file a completed application to the state.

“We are being forced into negotiations by the state on a short time frame,” said Selectman Brian Major.

He said the town also needs to know the environmental impact of hundreds if not thousands of cars idling as they sit in huge traffic jams waiting to enter or exit the casino.

Materazzo said Penn National will have to conduct some kind of environmental review under the Mass. Environmental Policy Act, or MEPA.

Selectman Paul Salafia wanted to know if the project would have an impact on the town’s watershed.

Materazzo said the proposed casino location isn’t in the Haggetts Pond watershed but is very close to another watershed. He said he’d speak with the Andover Conservation Commission about that issue.

Dan Kowalski wanted to know the impact of future residential or commercial growth on the area and if that would be added into the equation.

He said if the $200 million casino is built at 300 Ames Pond Road as proposed, and other projects are proposed for the area, the impact on traffic would only worsen.

Major said he was also concerned about public safety.

“There is no police or fire station near the facility,” he said, meaning that in the event of an emergency, Andover would be called in for mutual aid.

While State Police would monitor the casino itself, it would be up to local police and fire to respond to accidents or incidents outside the boundaries of the casino.

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