Town scraps plan to rezone Medford parcel next to site considered for gaming facility

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Brookhaven Town officials have scrapped plans to change the zoning of a Medford parcel that could become part of a video lottery terminal complex.

The town board voted unanimously on Tuesday to withdraw the rezoning proposal, moments before a public hearing was to have been held on the issue. The rezoning would have permitted commercial recreation, including gaming, at a vacant parcel on the south service road near Exit 64 of the Long Island Expressway.

Town officials had proposed changing the zoning of the 9-acre parcel, which has been eyed as a potential addition to an adjacent 23-acre plot that Suffolk County officials are considering for a gaming facility with up to 1,000 video lottery terminals.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said Wednesday the rezoning plan would not be taken up at a later date. "I don't think it's necessary," he said in an interview. "When we have a site plan [for a gaming facility], we'll decide then. But right now, it doesn't look like it needs a rezoning."

The 23-acre parcel already is zoned to allow commercial recreation, which permits gaming, town officials have said. Supporters have said video lottery terminals would add jobs and boost the local economy.

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Civic activist MaryAnn Johnston, who opposes the gaming facility, said she was "thrilled" that the rezoning plan had been dropped. She said she feared that such a facility would lead to increased crime.

"It doesn't bring the kind of benefits to a community. It doesn't bring the kind of jobs to a community," she said.

The town board also voted 6-1 to withdraw a proposal to rewrite the town's definition of commercial recreation zones. Among other things, it would have required a special permit for gaming operations.

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