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Supervisor's Update - 07-21-14

posted Jul 21, 2014, 11:56 AM by Web Master
July 21, 2014

On behalf of the Town Board, I am writing to update the residents of Tuxedo on the status of the application and review process for the proposed Sterling Forest Resort and Casino.  We appreciate the thoughtful inquiries we have received and we are gratified by the level of interest shown by residents and members of Tuxedo’s business community.

Following approval by the Town Board at a public meeting on June 25, 2014, Tuxedo formally entered into the Host Community Agreement with RW Orange County LLC (a subsidiary of Genting Americas) on June 27, 2014.  I believe our board, with the assistance of its advisors and input from the community, has negotiated a very favorable commitment package from Genting. As discussed at our public meetings, among other things, the Host Community Agreement commits Genting to provide $50 million of funding to the Town of Tuxedo for capital projects to be selected by the Town Board as well as for fire, police and EMS equipment and training.  We expect to receive the first $1.5 million installment (which is nonrefundable) this month, with the balance to be paid over time if Genting receives the necessary approvals to proceed with the project.  The Agreement will provide various other continuing benefits to the Town if Genting receives the necessary approvals for the project, including guaranteed annual tax income that will more than double the Town’s current revenue base as well as annual support for the Tuxedo School District that will remain in place as long as the proposed casino resort remains in operation.  The Host Community Agreement also makes clear that none of the required approvals for the project have been granted to date.  

On June 30, 2014, Genting officially submitted its license application for the proposed Sterling Forest Resort and Casino to the NY State Gaming Commission. In addition to Sterling Forest Resort’s application, there were 16 other applications submitted to the Gaming Commission for casinos in Orange County and elsewhere in up-state New York. All these applications were submitted in response to a request for applications issued by the Gaming Commission earlier this year, in accordance with the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013.  The Gaming Commission is currently evaluating these applications and is expected to announce its selection of up to four applicants to receive casino licenses at some point later this year.

In the meantime, Genting filed its application with the Town of Tuxedo for a Special Use Permit for the proposed Sterling Forest Resort and Casino. Based on the filing, the Town Board, working with our environmental consultants and attorneys, has been laying the groundwork for the legally required environmental review process under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, known as “SEQRA.” As discussed at Town meetings, during this review period the Town’s consultants and attorneys will assist us in undertaking a comprehensive review of the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts associated with the proposed Sterling Forest Resort and Casino, including many of the issues raised by residents at our recent public meetings such as traffic, air quality, water and wastewater management, and school populations, as well as noise, pedestrian safety and parking.  The process will also help determine the measures that may be necessary to mitigate any potential impacts. The full environmental review will be completed prior to any approvals that are needed for the project to proceed. We fully expect that other federal, state and local agencies, including the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission and the New York State Thruway Authority, will be actively involved in reviewing the environmental impacts of the proposed Sterling Forest Resort.  At the Town Board special meeting on July 17th, the board members voted to establish the board as the “lead agency” in coordinating these various efforts. 

Also at the July 17th meeting, the Town Board determined that the proposed action may have a significant effect on the environment and therefore a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared.  The initial step in this process is the preparation of a scoping document that describes the full range of environmental issues that must be studied in the draft EIS based on prior analyses and community input. As part of this process, a draft scoping document identifying these issues has been prepared by Town consultants for public comment. This draft document will be reviewed at a public scoping session scheduled for July 31, 2014, at the George Grant Mason Elementary School, 11 Hillside Avenue, at 7:00 p.m. 

As part of the SEQRA review process, we anticipate that there will be more public Town meetings at which the environmental impact of the proposed project will be discussed and we look forward to receiving comments and feedback from Town residents. We will continue to keep residents updated as there are further developments.

As another part of our effort to keep residents informed, I also want to announce that we have set up a new webpage for all public documents related to the proposed project and Town actions related to the project, including the Host Community Agreement and the draft scoping document discussed above.  If you visit our homepage at www.tuxedogov.org, you will see the link to this new webpage at the top of the page.  We hope this will be useful in helping you to learn more about the application for the proposed project and its review by the Town.  We believe making the documents readily accessible is a crucial part of conducting a thorough, comprehensive and transparent review process.

Again, on behalf of myself and my fellow board members, thank you for your continued interest, participation and support. 

-Michael Rost, Town Supervisor 

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