A Concord casino has been challenged by a New Hampshire resident through an appeal.

Posted on: July 21, 2023, 09:33h. 

Last updated on: July 21, 2023, 09:33h.

A local woman has taken legal action against a casino in Concord, New Hampshire, alleging that the project was improperly approved by town officials.

Kassey Cameron
Kassey Cameron, pictured above. She filed a court action against a recently-approved casino in Concord, New Hampshire. (Image: LinkedIn)

According to the lawsuit filed by Kassey Cameron, residents were not adequately informed about the Concord Planning Board’s vote on the proposal in June, as reported by the Concord Monitor newspaper.

As a result, residents did not have the opportunity to voice their concerns against the application. The lawsuit also claims other legal errors were made in the approval process.

Cameron’s attorney, Amy Manzelli of BCM Environmental & Land Law of Concord, stated in the appeal that this appeal arises from a violation of the public’s right to due process and their meaningful participation in the decision-making process regarding the impacts of a proposed casino, microbrewery, restaurant, and hotel. It also points out several legal errors.

Cameron is seeking for the board’s conditional approval to be invalidated by a judge.

If the judge rules in Cameron’s favor, the application will be sent back to the planning board for further review and a possible new vote.

Concerns have been raised by many residents that the casino could contribute to an increase in crime and strain the city’s emergency services.

According to the Monitor, the applicant, Andy Sanborn, a former state senator, was required to submit a study predicting the number of emergency calls the casino would generate.

In May, the board asked Sanborn to conduct this study. However, in June, he only provided the board with one page of data that cited numbers from related businesses in the area.

Board Caught Off Guard

The Monitor reported that Sanborn only informed the planning staff about the new data three hours before the start of the board’s June meeting, prompting Planning Board Chair Richard Woodfin to describe it as “a little bit of an ambush.”

The lawsuit further alleges that while the public was not present, the board considered and approved the application, taking into account the new information it had just received. The lawsuit claims that this was done without giving the public a meaningful opportunity to be heard.

The board approved the proposal with a 4-2 vote, with one board member abstaining.

One of the conditions set by the board for the project includes the implementation of a traffic signalization plan and the provision of sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and connections on Loudon Road.

The casino complex is planned to be located on the east side of the city, at the intersection of Loudon and Sheep Davis roads.

The board’s decision immediately faced criticism.

A Controversial Project

One resident, Dan Williams, wrote a letter to the Planning Board expressing his disbelief at their “reluctant approval” of Andy Sanborn’s proposed casino project without a public hearing, stating that he and other residents will be determined to stop the plan.

During the extensive review process, opponents of the casino raised concerns about its environmental impact, increased traffic, and potential negative effects such as prostitution and illegal drugs.

The Concord Greenspace Coalition, a local environmental group advocating for limited growth, presented the board with a petition opposing the casino.

Sanborn’s plans include a first phase with a 26,000-square-foot gaming floor featuring 634 seats, 486 electronic games, 21 table games, and a poker room.

Also included in the plans is an 8,500-square-foot restaurant and brewpub with a capacity for 150 diners.

A second phase of construction will add a hotel and event space, with the potential for additional gaming space.

Supporters of the project highlight that the casino will create over 250 jobs and attract visitors to the city. They also emphasize that approved charities will benefit from the gaming property, as 35% of its gross revenue will be donated to charities every 10 days.

Sanborn already owns Concord’s Draft Sports Bar and Grill and the Concord Casino.

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