HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Massachusetts casino proposed by Foxwoods Resorts Casino promises 3,500 jobs, $20 million a year in tax revenue to the town of Milford and the purchase of about $50 million a year in goods and services from local businesses.
Crossroads LLC, the Foxwoods business that presented its $1 billion plan to the Milford Board of Selectmen on Monday, also proposed to restrict building to just 10 percent of the site's 187 acres to protect wetlands and open space.
Crossroads presented architectural plans and the results of studies about traffic, water and other concerns raised in meetings with town, state and federal officials.
"By pursuing a collaborative and open process, we have listened to the citizens of Milford and worked hard to address concerns," said Scott Butera, president and chief executive of Foxwoods, which is based in eastern Connecticut.
Foxwoods says overhead transmission lines would be relocated away from residential areas to provide a buffer between the casino and adjacent residential communities. Buildings would be in scale to the landscape and the site would feature ecological zones, native vegetation and expansion of recreational trails.
Studies indicate water and sewer demands of the development would be largely accommodated by public works already in place and enough capacity exists for the casino's water demands, Foxwoods says in its proposal. However, the sewer system will have to be expanded to connect the facility.
William Buckley, chairman of Milford's Board of Selectmen, said Monday that town agency officials and consultants will review the Foxwoods proposal and report back on the plan's impact on sewer, water, public safety and other town services.
Several public hearings will be scheduled and a "host mitigation agreement" would be negotiated "as to what it would take to mitigate the impact of such a large development on a small community," Buckley said.
Assuming an agreement is negotiated, "which is not a foregone conclusion," he said, a referendum would be scheduled, probably in October or November. To win the vote, Foxwoods will have to overcome organized opposition, which says a casino will devalue homes, put pressure on local business, add to traffic and lead to crime such as embezzlement.
The next step for Foxwoods is a review by the state Gaming Commission. Foxwoods is competing against Everett and the Suffolk Downs thoroughbred racetrack in East Boston for a state license for eastern Massachusetts.
Foxwoods, which is pressed by stiff competition in the Northeast, is seeking new markets and more revenue. Massachusetts, just next door, presents an opportunity because the Legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick enacted legislation in 2011 allowing up to three resort casinos and a slot machine parlor.
But officials and some residents are skeptical that Foxwoods would be the best choice. Revenue has fallen at the Connecticut casino, run by the Mashantucket Indian tribe, in each of the last 12 months, from May 2012 to April 2013. Foxwoods also is wrapping up a deal with creditors to reduce its debt.