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Brookhaven Town: Plans for Medford casino incomplete

A rendering of the Suffolk Regional OTB Gaming

A rendering of the Suffolk Regional OTB Gaming Facility is seen in this image. Photo Credit: Delaware North Companies

Suffolk OTB officials failed to adequately address issues such as parking, drainage and sewage when it filed plans for a proposed video lottery betting parlor in Medford, Brookhaven Town officials said.

In a report last week to the town board, Brookhaven planner Joe Sanzano said plans for the 90,050-square-foot facility were sent back to OTB officials last month. He said the town planning board will not review the OTB proposal until its application has been completed.

Sanzano said the proposed site plan must be updated to include information on signs, parking, landscaping, lighting, sanitary systems and “community character issues.” He said OTB officials also must identify variances and permits it may seek from the town for the site.

“At this time, the applicant has failed to provide the necessary information and data to the planning board,” Sanzano told board members.

In an interview, OTB Vice President Anthony Pancella said the plan submitted to town officials was not meant to be a final plan. He said consultants are conducting traffic studies and collecting data, but he could not say when the proposal will be finished.

“It was submitted for feedback and it all was included,” Pancella said. “We just wanted feedback on certain things.”

A federal bankruptcy court judge in November ordered Brookhaven and Suffolk County officials to review Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.’s plans for a casino with as many as 1,000 video lottery terminals on the Long Island Expressway’s eastbound service road.

OTB officials have said the parlor is crucial for efforts to help the financially troubled corporation dig itself out of debt.

Some Medford residents oppose the facility, saying it would bring crime, noise and other problems to the community.

In a 30-page response to environmental review documents filed by OTB, the Medford Taxpayers and Civic Association repeated its contention that the casino is not allowed by town zoning. The group also said the casino would cause customers to become gambling addicts.

Suffolk OTB “has failed to demonstrate the site to be in compliance with existing land use code and regulations,” civic group president Brett Houdek wrote. “They’ve also failed to demonstrate benefits to the surrounding community and in fact have discarded the wealth of evidence showing the negative impacts and decline in housing values to host communities where these type of predatory gambling VLTs are placed.”

In addition to town planners, Brookhaven environmental protection officials also raised questions about issues such as traffic, drainage and the casino’s impact on emergency services such as fire and ambulance companies, Sanzano said.

Town officials also have received comments on the plan from county health and public works officials, and from state transportation officials, Sanzano said.

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