NYC Community Boards Clash with Mayor over Casino Plans

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In New York City, a chorus of discontent is rising from the ranks of the Community Boards as they cast a critical eye on Mayor Eric Adams’ approach to the pending scrutinization of casino proposals. The heart of the matter is a contentious review process set forth by the Adams administration, proposing to essentially silence the influential voice of these local bodies in deciding the futures of multi-billion-dollar casino enterprises.

Under the specter of this policy shift, Community Board 4, which represents the vibrant neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea, has openly defied the mayor’s vision, formally denouncing a move which they perceive as a disconcerting exclusion of their perspective. At a recent assembly, impassioned pleas resonated through the chamber, with member Delores Rubin emphatically lamenting the city’s apparent eagerness to forfeit local input to state-level decision-making, a gesture seen as a betrayal of the diligence and advocacy invested by the city’s planning entities and the broader community.

The Community Boards are integral components of New York’s civic machinery, numbering at 59, each a tapestry woven of volunteer members appointed by borough presidents and council members. These individuals, all of whom either live or work within their represented districts, form a quasi-governmental panel, primarily tasked with advising on land use and zoning issues.

A point of contention is the traditional route for greenlighting new commercial undertakings, known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). This protocol, typically initiated for projects necessitating land-use amendments or zoning alterations, now finds itself at the heart of a struggle for relevance as Mayor Adams suggests dispensing with ULURPs in the context of casino bids. His rationale: to avoid an unnecessary replication of the state’s thorough vetting process.

The state stipulates that for a casino to be considered by the New York Gaming Facility Location Board, it must garner the endorsement of its local Community Advisory Committee (CAC), a select group of six members appointed by a cross-section of state and city officials. It is the CAC that is charged with delving into the intricacies of land use and zoning proposals for the casino venture in question. Before Adams’ proposed amendment can take full effect, it would require the consent of the City Planning Commission, followed by the City Council, and ultimately the Mayor himself.

Turning our sights to the prospective casino developments, a notable bid from the Soloviev Group is courting attention. This ambitious project envisions transforming a swath of barren land neighboring the iconic United Nations Headquarters into a mixed-use development featuring a 1,200-room hotel, upwards of 1,300 residences, and a pledge to designate a sizable portion for affordable housing.

In a recent unveiling, Soloviev, in collaboration with Mohegan, announced an invigorating addition to their bid: a luxury wellness retreat conceived by Banyan Tree. Known for its portfolio of high-end resorts and spas throughout Asia and the Middle East, Banyan Tree’s partnership signifies an intention to introduce a touch of tranquility and opulence to Manhattan’s East Side, should their casino proposal emerge victorious.

As the saga of casino licensure unfolds, it’s a reminder that while today’s news may be consumed within the context of development plans and zoning committees, there is always room for leisure and recreation in the spectrum of our daily lives. The excitement that comes with games of chance isn’t confined to the grand establishments of the East Side, and for those looking for a more immediate dose of thrill, the virtual world beckons. For the enthusiasts in Canada seeking to explore this digital domain, we at West Island Blog have curated a selection featuring [the top online casinos for this month](https://www.westislandblog.com/online-casinos/). As spring unfolds, perhaps it’s time to try your luck and experience the digital side of casino entertainment.

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