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Casino opponents in East Greenbush see an opening

Updated: 07/17/2014 1:02 AM
Created: 07/16/2014 5:41 PM WNYT.com
By: Dan Levy

EAST GREENBUSH - It might have been a mistake, it may have been an oversight, or it might be meaningless.

On Wednesday night, a vocal group of casino opponents in East Greenbush was jumping all over what they saw as an opportunity to keep a casino out of their community.

For those opponents, any missteps or mistakes in the process, whether real or perceived, become opportunities.

"I think that it's time maybe for this board to reconsider," Jack Conway, an East Greenbush resident said, while addressing the board at a public hearing Wednesday night.

The town board has already voted unanimously to support the Capital View Casino & Resort to be built on Thompson Hill, but as it turns out, there might be a problem with that site.

"It's zoned residential buffer, it's not zoned commercial or industrial," Ann Taylor said at the public heearing.

In other words, the town board may have given its blessing, and developers may have submitted their application before the appropriate zoning variance was granted.

"Understand that if they can't get this huge project right the first time, why are be letting them do it?" Lindsay Childrose asked rhetorically, "They're just going to screw it up."

"I definitely want to implore you to understand that this is not over," said Jack Conway, "You have not approved this project. You've just approved a resolution so they could apply."

On Wednesday night the town board was expecting developers to formally request extra time in which to submit a zoning variance. That never happened.

"You guys are getting played," said Tom Grant.

"It just boggles my mind," said Bonnie Lester.

"You guys were served a dish and now you're realizing what they do best," said Laurie Smith, "they fool people."

Meanwhile, Jeff Meyer, an attorney hired by East Greenbush casino opponents, thinks this latest development might not bode well for developers if Gaming Commission members are watching.

"There is a component of local needs, local wants, and local opposition," Meyer points out, "The only true way to do that is to read the news clippings, watch News 13, and get that information."

As to whether or not town board members will reconsider their casino support, it doesn't seem likely.

"I stand behind the vote with the site specific resolution," says Town Supervisor Keith Langley, "The process is to move forward at this point to planning and zoning."

Capital View Casino & Resort spokesman Morgan Hook issued a statement on Wednesday night that read:

"We withdrew the PDD (Planned Development District) application so that we could provide the additional information requested by the town. This will in no way negatively affect our bid and we look forward to continuing to work with them to bring jobs and revenue to East Greenbush and the Capital Region."

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