Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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August 29, 2013

File closed on neighboring casino plan

(Continued)

Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski said that if the casino vote had passed, the issue would have continued to consume the time of staff and elected officials alike.

Members of the planning staff, as well as police and fire officials, along with town counsel, Conservation Commission director and many others had spent countless hours in meetings preparing for the casino.

Vispoli said Friday that the vote was “a good demonstration of why open Town Meeting works. All the boards and committees in Tewksbury had voted to recommend in favor of (the casino), including the town manager.”

But Town Meeting members, who had to be registered voters in Tewksbury, saw things differently, voting 1,568 to 995 against the proposal to rezone property off Ames Pond Road to accommodate the casino. To pass, the zoning amendment needed two-thirds majority support.

One outstanding detail following the Town Meeting vote now appears to be resolved. Part of the process for approval of the casino included a town-wide vote in Tewksbury. After the rezoning proposal failed, Penn National Gaming sent a letter to Tewksbury officials telling them to cancel the town-wide referendum that was scheduled for Sept. 21.

Last Friday, Tewksbury selectmen voted unanimously to call off that town-wide vote. However, since the state had already scheduled the election, it’s unclear what impact the selectmen’s decision will have.

Tewksbury Town Manager Richard Montuori told the Lowell Sun last Friday that no statutes exist to guide whether a posted referendum can be canceled in this situation, but he expected no challenges to the decision.

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