By Sue Ellen Woodcock
A Suffolk Superior Court judge has denied a request from Mayor Brian Arrigo to stop a special election on Oct. 18 seeking a plebiscite on a zoning change in the trailer park off the Revere Beach Parkway. Arrigo in his legal brief cited as the reason the financial impact on the city budget that is estimated to cost more than $70,000.
Judge Shannon Frison heard two arguments last Wednesday, one from the City and the other from Eugene McCain who is seeking the zoning change. City officials sought a preliminary injunction and a stay of all proceedings pending the certification of the results on a statewide Ballot Question No. 1 on Nov. 8. If approved, the positive vote in November would authorize the Massachusetts Gaming Commission the ability to issue a second Category 2 License for a gaming establishment with no table games and not more than 1,250 slot machines. The Commission has already granted one permit at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.
In the second argument that was heard on Wednesday, McCain also counterclaimed with an anti-SLAPP lawsuit regarding the collection of signatures. The lawsuit alleged that the City tried to stop McCain from gathering signatures calling for a special election.
“The Special Election based upon the initiative petition must still be held according to the city statute,” wrote Frison. According to the City Charter, the zoning change could have been granted either by a vote of the City Council or in a special election if enough Revere signatures are collected.
Eugene McCain and his associates propose a 400-room hotel and slot casino parlor to be placed on the site of the current Lee’s Trailer Park on Revere Beach Parkway. But to place the slots parlor there, he must obtain a zoning change as well a permit from the Gaming Commission. He has collected signatures for a special election in Revere to change the zoning and he is also working to have Question 1 in the November ballot approved by state voters. If both ballots are approved, it would be up to the discretion of the Gaming Commission to grant another slots permit. The sole condition for another slots parlor is that the gaming establishment must be within 1,500 feet of a horse racing facility.
There is also a group opposed to Question 1(for more slots parlor) called the Committee for Responsible and Sustainable Economic Development based out of Boston.