Milford, Mass., selectmen approve host agreement with Foxwoods

The Board of Selectmen in Milford, Mass., voted 2-1 Monday night to sign a final version of a “host community agreement” with Foxwoods Massachusetts, the partnership proposing to develop a $1 billion resort casino in the town.

The action followed a similar vote by the selectmen last Wednesday to approve the agreement, which calls for Foxwoods Massachusetts to provide the town with more than $32 million in upfront payments and annual payments of more than $31 million in exchange for the right to develop the casino on a 187-acre site at Interstate 495 and Route 16 in the town’s northeast corner.

A referendum on the proposal will be held within 60 to 90 days, perhaps as soon as Nov. 12, a Foxwoods spokesman said.

“Through months of hard work collaborating with town officials, we are pleased to reach an agreement that will help us develop a unique, world-class resort that enhances the Milford community,” Scott Butera, Foxwoods Resort Casino’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “The Milford Board of Selectmen deserve praise for pushing us to develop the most comprehensive proposal of any applicant.”

If the developers win voters’ approval in the referendum, they would still face a town meeting vote on a required zone change for the project. The change would have to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the elected town meeting members, of which there are about 240.

The Foxwoods Massachusetts project would compete for the Greater Boston casino license also being sought by Wynn Resorts, which has won referendum approval for a project in Everett, and owners of the Suffolk Downs thoroughbred horse racing track. Suffolk Downs has asked that referendums be held in East Boston and Revere, communities where the track is located, on Nov. 5.

The Foxwoods Massachusetts development would provide an estimated 3,500 permanent jobs and about 3,000 temporary construction jobs. The developers’ agreement with the town requires them to make “best efforts” to employ Milford residents and those from within 50 miles of Milford. Foxwoods Massachusetts also agreed to attempt to purchase $50 million a year in goods and services from local vendors.

The agreement also addresses the mitigation of impacts on the town’s water and sewer systems, traffic and fire and police services.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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