Casino Siting Letter to the Editor

To the Editor: Thank you for your recent editorial “Local boards must have a say on casinos.” While casinos have the potential to increase tourism, promote economic development and create jobs, they may also have serious negative impacts – economic and social – on nearby communities. Casinos should not be externally imposed on any community; local support is critical. To ensure this, I have introduced legislation in the Assembly that would require municipalities to first pass laws or resolutions in support of building a casino before it can be approved. Assembly colleagues from both sides of the aisle have joined as sponsors and companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate. The measure also ensures any approved casino would adhere to local land use and zoning laws and that construction complies with the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Next month, the state siting board is scheduled to begin taking applications for four new casinos. If local governments are in favor of a casino, they should be able to express their interest. By the same token, in a Home Rule state like New York, communities that are opposed to a casino in their backyards shouldn’t have it forced on them. Communities that are potential casino sites will be significantly impacted if chosen by the siting board. Before any decisions are made, it’s vital to address local concerns. I will work to pass this legislation and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Sincerely, Didi Barrett
Member of Assembly, 106th District