Authority for approval of Suffolk OTB facility in dispute

The findings of an external review are being debated between advocates and opponents of a proposed Suffolk OTB video lottery terminal in Medford.

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine promised residents that the town would seek outside counsel to find out if it had a legal avenue to block Suffolk OTB's proposal to build a gambling facility along the Long Island Expressway south service road.

The five-page document from the law firm Nixon Peabody LLP says that the facility must be in compliance with "all applicable local ordinances." It's this language that has emboldened opponents who say the town has the authority to make its own decisions.

The document also says that town approval is not required for the location of the Suffolk OTB plan.

Brookhaven town's attorney tells News 12, "Although the Town Board voted 6-0 to oppose casinos in Brookhaven, this opinion confirms that the Town does not have land use authority over this facility."

The legal opinion also finds that the gaming facility is already in compliance with the town's current zoning law.

Local civic groups disagree with that assessment and have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the plan. They say the proposed gaming facility would attract crime and traffic congestion to the area.

Organizers say they plan to take this issue directly to Town Board members at the next Brookhaven Town Hall meeting in early May.


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