Suffolk OTB rolls the dice on plan to build gaming facility in Medford

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The Suffolk OTB is once again rolling the dice on a bid to open a casino in Medford.

It's the third time in three years that OTB has tried to make its plan for a gaming facility a reality. Residents say they are ready to battle against the proposal.

Brett Houdek, the president of the Medford Civic Association, and other Suffolk residents voiced their concerns at a public hearing Monday that focused on the possible environmental impacts of casino construction.

"Who in their right mind places a gambling facility next to a residential community and on the other side of a children's amusement park," says Houdek. "It's not the right fit."

Suffolk OTB has filed plans with state officials for a video lottery gaming casino to be built on the 30-acre site that was once the Brookhaven Movie Theater just off the Long Island Expressway. OTB scrapped similar plans in 2016 following fierce opposition from residents.

The new plan calls for a 160,000-square-foot facility, which is more than 60% bigger than the original project. Some residents worry that such a facility would bring nothing good to the community.

"People of Suffolk don't want gambling in their backyard and this would be in residents' backyards," says MaryAnn Johnston, president of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organizations. "We have enough garbage going along Horseblock Road. We have a shredding company, an automobile crushing company and numerous waste transfer sites."

A spokesman for OTB issued a statement saying, "Suffolk OTB is working to either redevelop the Medford location or sell it to an entity that will. Either scenario requires undertaking an environmental review. Tonight's meeting provides an opportunity to the public to provide comments on environmental aspects of the redevelopment proposal, including state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technology."

The DEC will accept written comments until December 19. A copy of the draft environmental review is available to view at OTB headquarters in Hauppauge and the Patchogue-Medford Public Library.

 

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