New York City (NYC) Mayor Eric Adams wants to fast-track the casino application’s review process. However, the city’s community boards are opposing his plans. Jeffrey LeFrancois, Community Board 4’s chairperson stated in January 2023 in while revealing a new housing plan that the board is displeased by Adam’s plan to overlook Community Boards’ contribution in reviewing gaming proposals.
The mayor wants to apply a review process for casino bids which would exclude the boards in deliberating about multibillion-dollar gaming sites. Community Board 4 constitutes Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. It voted to oppose Adam’s plan in its meeting last week.
The City reported that Delores Rubin, a Community Board member stated that it is disheartening that the city wants to give the state the mandate to review casino bids. He added that every community has been fighting for an opportunity to host a casino.
Reports show that New York City has 59 Community Boards. Each of them comprises unsalaried members that council members and borough presidents appoint. Also, they have to work or reside in their board’s community.
Quasi-government committees perform advisory roles in borough districts. Still, they often give opinions regarding land zoning and use.
How Does the City Review Casino Projects?
Once a casino operator proposes a gaming plan in the city, the city’s government asks it to have a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The procedure applies in instances where a casino project needs the sale, zoning or land-use change of the city’s property.
Even so, Adams states that ULURP isn't mandatory when the city is evaluating gaming proposals as it duplicates New York’s consideration for every proposal. The state’s gaming regulation requires a downstate casino to get the local Community Advisory Committee’s (CAC)support first before the New York Gaming Facility Location Board considers its application.
Then, the gaming operator gets a six-member CAC. Governor Kathy Hochul(D), the borough president, city councilor, assemblyman,state senator and Adams appoints one person each. They assign the CAC the duty to review land zoning and use changes for each proposed casino. Nevertheless, the City Planning Commission has to vote and drop ULURPs for gaming proposals before Adams and the City Council approve them.
Is the East Side Gaming Sector Thriving?
The Soloviev Group has made one of the more than eight gaming bids for downstate New York. It plans to improve seven acres south of the United Nations Headquarters between FDR Drive and 1st Avenue.
Still,the Group wants to develop a 1,200-room hotel comprising over 1,300 residential units and reserve 500 of them for affordable housing. It collaborated with Mohegan to run gaming operations and revealed a Banyan Tree-branded wellness retreat as its newest amenity.
Banyan Tree is a hospitality company which operates many resorts, spas and hotels in the Middle East and Asia. It might get an opportunity to launch a wellness retreat on Manhattan’s East Side in case the Soloviev Group wins a downstate gaming license.