Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hasidic Village Sues to Block Casino 

A Hasidic Jewish village has mounted a legal challenge seeking to halt a casino proposed for Orange County in upstate New York, arguing that officials in nearby communities failed to consider the environmental impacts of the project when they signed on in support.

The lawsuit filed by the village of Kiryas Joel alleges that the proposed Live! Hotel and Casino in South Blooming Grove would burden the local sewer system and generate traffic, noise and other negative impacts for the surrounding area.

Kiryas Joel is a community of 23,000 about 50 miles north of New York City. In the lawsuit the village notes that its population is mostly Hasidic, and that casino gambling is "contrary to the religious beliefs of this community."

The suit seeks to halt the project and annul agreements between casino developers and officials in South Blooming Grove and the town of Blooming Grove. Developers looking to win one of four available upstate casino licenses are required to gain approval from the host communities.

Cordish Companies and Penn National Gaming are the developers behind the proposal, one of several competing for an upstate casino license.

"As a policy matter, we do not comment on litigation, but we are extremely disappointed at the Village of Kiryas Joel's effort to try to deny jobs and important new tax revenues to South Blooming Grove," Penn National said in a statement.

Messages left Friday afternoon with officials in South Blooming Grove, Blooming Grove were not immediately returned.

New York state has authorized up to four casino licenses to be divided among three upstate regions: the Albany-Saratoga area, the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region and the Catskills and mid-Hudson River Valley.

A state board is now evaluating the applications and is set to make its recommendations this fall.


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