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PHILADELPHIA-Following the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s release of adjudication documents that accounted for its choices for awarding slots licenses to Foxwoods Casino and SugarHouse Casino, a 30-day window opens for appeals. Appeals must be submitted to the state Supreme Court, and there promises to be some.

Even before the final selection was announced on Dec. 20, criticism of utilizing riverfront land for casinos erupted among city planners, and residents surrounding proposed sites raised concerns over traffic, the alteration of neighborhoods and casinos’ potentially damaging effect on housing values. These, along with general “not in my back yard” complaints join the strict “CasiNO!,” anti-gambling critics.

Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia, headed by the Connecticut-based Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, is a planned $560-million complex on 16 acres on Columbus Boulevard and Reed Street. Further north, on 22.6 acres at N. Delaware Avenue and Shackamoxon Street, a partnership that includes Chicago developer Neil Bluhm and Dan Keating, a suburban developer, plans the $550-million SugarHouse Casino complex.

Both of the sites are on the Delaware riverfront and both within Councilman Frank DiCicco’s district. A spokesman for his office tells GlobeSt.com DiCicco will submit an appeal by the deadline.

In addition, the spokesman says DiCicco has introduced a package of legislation to the City Council, “which includes 10 bills and three resolutions, all dealing with casinos.” They range from seeking to alter the location of the approved sites to requiring a voter referendum to approve any zoning ordinance that allows a gaming facility. The City Council has scheduled a Feb. 28 hearing on the legislative initiatives.

Meanwhile, Brett Mapp, president of the Bella Vista United Civic Association, tells GlobeSt.com, “Riverfront United Communities, a coalition of between 15 and 17 neighborhood associations representing neighborhoods at both locations have been meeting weekly for three weeks. There’s strength in numbers.”

Of his own group, Mapp says, “We haven’t yet figured out if we’ll file an appeal separately or jointly with others.” He confirms that the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association and Society Hill Civic Association are part of the newly formed coalition.

Tania Rorke, president of SHCA, tells GlobeSt.com, “Our association is completely opposed to a Foxwoods casino at Reed Street. We’re having an emergency board meeting on Wednesday (Feb. 7) to discuss this, listen to the recommendation of our casino committee, and bring (the possibility of an appeal) to a vote.” A call to NLNA was not returned by deadline.

Greg Carlin, CEO of SugarHouse Gaming, refers to the adjudication documents and tells GlobeSt.com, “I think we’re in a strong position. We’re moving full steam ahead with planning, obtaining the necessary permits and approvals and hoping to break ground by late spring or early summer. At most, appeals may slow down the process,” he says.

A call to Foxwoods was not returned by deadline.

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