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Several Hundred Casino Opponents Turn Out for Milford Meeting

The crowd that showed up for the Milford Selectmen's meeting Monday spilled into the hallways and extended up to the main floor of Milford Town Hall. The chairman would not move the board's meeting to the upper chamber.

Several hundred people attempted to attend the Milford Selectmen's meeting Monday, to listen to a scheduled presentation of casino opponents.

The board chairman would not move the meeting to the Town Hall's upper chambers to accommodate the turnout, angering many in the crowd, who would not leave the building and tried to jam into the smaller meeting space.

"Move it to a bigger room upstairs," called out one man, frustrated because he could not see the presentation, nor hear it.

At one point, Milford Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin tried to create a channel into the selectmen's room, telling people they needed to comply with the state Fire Code.

The representatives of Casino-Free Milford had been scheduled to give a 20-minute presentation, providing an overview of the organization's arguments against a casino proposal.

Milford is one of three locations in greater Boston that has an active application for a resort casino. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will issue one resort casino license for the region that extends from Boston to Worcester. The Milford proposal, submitted by developer David Nunes, working with Warner Gaming and now Foxwoods Resort Casino, is competing with two closer to Boston: redevelopment of the Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston and another at a former industrial site in Everett.

Milford Selectmen had invited Casino-Free Milford to give the presentation. But Brian Murray, chairman of the board, told the crowd that he would not move the location of the meeting. He later explained, before the group's leaders began speaking, that it was not a public hearing. The board has not yet had a proposal forwarded from Nunes or his partners.

"There is not a proposal before the town," Murray said. "This is simply information gathering for our board."

After the meeting, Murray said he was not told that some 200 people would attend, and logistically, it was not possible to move the location of the meeting without losing the live broadcasting capability of Milford TV, which was taping the meeting and would need advance notice to move its equipment. "We felt it was more important for folks at home to be able to watch it on TV," Murray said.

In the presentation, Casino-Free Milford co-chairmen John Seaver and Steve Trettel provided an overview of arguments against a casino in Milford, based on research they conducted with volunteers over the past several weeks. In a report delivered to selectmen, Seaver and Trettel said a resort casino would draw finances out of the community, by negatively impacting property values, damaging other businesses in town and putting a strain on public services.

Casino-Free Milford, which includes members from Hopkinton and Holliston, as well as Milford, is not anti-gambling or anti-casino, said Trettel. It is opposed to Milford, a small town, as the location for one.

"Milford is not an appropriate location for a destination casino complex," he said. The proposed location, east of Interstate 495, just north of Route 16, is surrounded by residential homes and properties.

Although the scale of the Crossroads Massachusetts casino proposal has not been made public by Nunes, the Casino Free Milford presentation drew on comparisons for traffic to Foxwoods. The resort casino in Ledyard, CT draws 55,000 daily visitors on weekends, Seaver said, and 40,000 during the work-week. "That's the kind of population, in that range, we may have to deal with," said Seaver.

The developer has said in the past that a dedicated exit off I-495 will be the primary access to the casino. For several reasons, Trettel said, this is problematic.

Although the interstate runs alongside the proposed site, all new interchanges must provide access in both directions, he said, which means the developer would need land on both sides of I-495 to anchor a "flyover" bridge. Developments including Target and Best Buy occupy the western side of the highway.

In addition, he said, access off a highway must be to a public road, and can't be to a private facility. And the federal rules also require a mile or more between exits on highways.

"Don't do it on a promise. He can't guarantee approval of the interchange," Trettel said.

Michael Soares March 19, 2013 at 09:52 PM
I heard that number too. Like Mary said, its median household income, meaning all income from every member of the family. So if there are two parents and two teenagers working it can easily hit 81k and more. A lot of figures they presented weren't really comparing apples to apples. I was more concerned with the technical difficulties with water, sewer and interstate off ramp.
aycaramba March 20, 2013 at 01:00 AM
I think we should all be keeping a very open eye on our Selectmen...
Tony March 20, 2013 at 02:07 AM
More bullying???
Tony March 20, 2013 at 02:49 AM
I won't know what it looked like on TV. I will find out tomorrow when I watch the re-run. I was nestled out in the hallway between a group of Hopkinton and Holliston people where I heard cat calls and outbursts. What bothered me the most was listening to people throw out wild and unsubstantiated statements. "Facts" as some like to believe. Mr. Tehan, your Rhetoric aside, the board invited the group to give a presentation, they didn't have to. Some of their "FACTS" do not stand up to scrutiny. I am voicing my opinion. The two Milford Co-Chairs of the group are respectable Milford people and were in no way disruptive or disrespectfull. And I'm sure THEY were happy to be invited to state their cause. My issue is with some of the followers of the group, particularly out of towners, who thought they could try their hand at intimidation. Yes, in my opinion some of the "FACTS" they claim are just way off base. Yes, making last minute demands just as they did last time they were allowed to use OUR facility in Milford, and CAT CALL our Board of selectmen before and during the scheduled "Presentation" (not a public hearing), in my opinion was disrespectfull and at a few points in time, disruptive. Yes, in my opinion, I thought some in the crowd thought they could intimidate anyone who may not readily agree with their opinion. What boggles my mind though is why some would try to intimidate (bully) the Board who invited them to give a presentation in the first place?
Mary MacDonald (Editor) March 20, 2013 at 02:56 AM
Milford TV this afternoon posted the video on its YouTube channel, so people can watch it for themselves and decide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3tL-XyN87c&feature=youtu.be Good night, all...
Myd Nevins March 20, 2013 at 04:12 AM
Out of curiousity, how many people there were Milford residents and how many were from surrounding towns?
Tony March 20, 2013 at 04:22 AM
Thank you Mary for posting the video. I don't think my observations were far off. Mr. Seaver and Trettle did a good job as I suspected they would. Myd, the sign up sheets Mr. Buckley asked for may indicate the number of Milford residents in attendance, but it wasn't clear to me if other residents would be mixed and matched. I don't know if they were required to list what town they were from. I had no intention of signing my name, but I am interested in the numbers.
Tom Russ March 20, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Hello Tony, I have a home 1.25 miles from ground zero. I'm going to lose equity when that casino is built. How's that for "bullying"? Tom
Lola F March 20, 2013 at 09:34 PM
I would never buy a house in a community where there was a casino. I am a former resident, by the way. If I feel that way, I'm sure many others do too. If I were a homeowner there, I'd be worried about that little fact and how it will effect the value of my home
Tom Russ March 20, 2013 at 09:35 PM
I shouldn't have to research anything! And if anyone thinks my home value will go up just put it in writing and promise to buy my home after the casino is built.
Chris March 21, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Can you be specific about which presented "facts" were way off base or didn't stand up to scrutiny. I'm not arguing with you. Actually, I can't, because you haven't said what you disagreed with. If you have scrutinized some of the information that was presented and found it to be untrue or misleading, I think we would all benefit from hearing exactly what you found.
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 05:41 AM
gamingfacts, why don't you use your real name and tell us who you are? You're asserting that there are studies showing no impact or even a rise in home prices near a casino - sotty, but you'll have to link to them to prove that they actually exist. Meanwhile, for your reading pleasure: http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/articles/2007/10/21/where_questions_trump_all/?page=full http://www.stopthecasino101.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/casinoscrimecommunitycost_june2000_grinolsmustarddilley.pdf http://business.illinois.edu/orer/v12-1-2.pdf
Ralph March 21, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I am still wondering, are you a Milford Resident?
Tony March 21, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Tom, That's interesting. My home in MILFORD is 1.40 miles from the proposed sight. Tony
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Your link is not working, maybe you spelled it wrong?
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:27 PM
The Spectrum Report was financed by the casino industry, I'm not interested in reading their propaganda, please provide an independent study
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:29 PM
All of these links are from casino industry mouthpieces, no thanks
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Link doesn't work here either
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Casino industry shills, no thanks.
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:47 PM
I'm sure you have plenty more propaganda, I'm not interested in seeing it. On my side of things, we aren't steamrolling anyone, we're organizing to defeat this at the ballot box. You still haven't answered my question above - who are you? Are you a Milford resident? Why are you hiding behind an anonymous nickname?
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Casinos in Las Vegas are unionized - will the Milford casino be unionized? I doubt it, unless the town insists on it as a pre-condition to going further - which has already been suggested to the BOS, but we haven't gotten a reply.
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 08:52 PM
From your link: But the crime rate since Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun opened has fallen in the nearby municipalities compared to the years before the casinos opened — mirroring a drop in crime nationwide. Crime did not decline in some towns near the casinos as much as it fell statewide, but local officials acknowledge the worst fears never materialized. "I'd say those fears have not come to pass," said Montville Mayor Ron McDaniel. The crimes studied include murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary and thefts. Mohegan Sun opened in 1996; Foxwoods in 1992. 1.) Yes, the crime rate fell, mirroring a drop in the nationwide crime rate 2.) The crimes cited do not include drug arrests or DUI arrests - I wonder why?
Tony March 21, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Chris, I can't speak of "FACTS' that matter in this case, i.e. the infrastructure, Water, Sewer, envirionmental etc. because no proper study has been conducted. But, as for the other "wild, unsubstantiated" statements, just to mention a few: "their going to have to build a new police station", "their going to have to hire a hundred cops", "guns, drugs and prostitution are going to take over the town", "all the illegal's that work at the Casino are gonna tax the housing market", "traffic is going to be a nightmare" etc. Remember my response is limited to 1500 characters, so I will ignore most of the ridiculous statements from the fringe in the opposition group and just talk about the traffic for now. They claim an average of 45 thousand people per day a will visit the casino. How many actual vehicles will travel along the roads leading to the Casino? I don't think anyone has told us yet. Lets assume 20 thousand, is that fair? Let's add those to the cars that travel Rt 16, Rt 109, Rt 85 and forget 495 for now. That is about a seven (7) percent increase in traffic. That the roads can handle especially with the proposed 18 million dollars worth of roads improvements in the general area of the proposed sight. Additionally, the 7 % increase is spread out over a twenty four hour period, not just rush hour. I only have 60 characters remaining. We can take this one point at a time. Now 0 characters
Tony March 21, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Tom, If your not interested in doing any of your own research, that puts you in the category of the uninformed. Tony
Chris March 21, 2013 at 09:09 PM
gamer Why are you re-posting all this drivel again. You can copy and paste all these posts and links as many times as you want (or as Patch will allow), and they will still be nothing more than propaganda from the American Gaming Association or The Innovation Group, which describes itself as "The premier provider of consulting and management services for the Gaming, Entertainment, Hospitality, Sports & Leisure, Food & Beverage and Retail industries." The "studies" that support the notion that casinos have a positive economic impact on communities don't distinguish between rural sites, where the pre-casino economic activity was basically zero, and established, densely populated communities like Milford that already have restaurants, shops, and entertainment businesses (many of which would be devastated by a large resort casino). Perhaps you're just unfamiliar with Milford and can't make that distinction yourself.
Tony March 21, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Your right Mr. Tehan, there is plenty of propaganda going on around here, I only see gamingfacts supporting an opposing view, being a staunch Democrat you know how that works. The opponents don't care about opposong views, they want what they want and they will say anything to get it, and everything anyone else says doesn't matter, it's propaganda etc. When challenged to prove an arguement; it's "propaganda, Casino supported research", Casino Shills etc. The opposition group takes any fact and twists it to serve their needs. I realize your group is organizing to defeat it at the ballot box. Good for you, it may work, but I'm one voter people like you can't fool.
John Tehan March 21, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Again, I'll ask the questions: who are you? Why should anyone believe a word you're saying? I'm on this board using my own name and photo - I'm well known and well-liked in this town, active in local politics since 2006. Who are you, and where do you live?
Tom Russ March 22, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Just what is a "gamingfacts"? And another thing...I'm a Milford taxpayer and I DON'T want a booze palace casino in my back yard. I DON'T want to be informed of the so called benefits of a casino in my neighorhood because after visiting the Ct. facilities I see there are no benefits to me as a resident. I've been here for a long time and I DON'T need some big money, wheeler dealers telling me how good it's going to be. And yes I'm self-serving about this because this is my home and my investment and will not be subject to the whim of some investor(s) (talk about self-serving) desire to gamble with the well-being of my neighborhood. This whole casino thing is a steaming pile and you know it! The only guaranteed outcome associated with any casino is "you lose".
Chris March 22, 2013 at 02:42 PM
gamingfacts said: "If there are no studies on casinos in densely populated communities, then how can you draw a conclusion that area businesses will be "devastated" by a resort casino. You see how that works Chris ?" You're right. Let me restate that: IN MY OPINION, hotels, restaurants and bars in Milford ARE LIKELY TO BE devastated by competition that has the ability to subsidize its hotel, restaurants and bars with profits from its gambling business. That's pretty much business 101, right? Does anyone need an independent study to validate that concept?
dan April 08, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Where can I get a vote yes for the casino sign?

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