NEW: Tiverton Residents Blast Casino Proposal
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
"It's absolutely ridiculous, and symptomatic of a state that's over reliant on gaming revenue," said John Loughlin, former State Representative and Tiverton resident. "Right now there's a group in Tiverton that's sprung up against the [proposed] mall. If there's that much opposition there, what about a casino? Why not throw in a toxic waste dump while you're at it?"
"The 30,000 foot problem is we're so addicted to gambling revenue in this state," continued Loughlin. "People move to Tiverton because of its residential character. We don't need a casino -- just look at the Harbor Mall. It's empty. It can't even support a Radio Shack."
Residents Raise Concerns, Questions
"I was hoping this was nothing but gossip. I find it reprehensible, and I know there are many of us who will fight against it," said lifelong Tiverton resident Connie Lima. "Why would they think we'd want it? They want to be here because we have the land. They'll try and use a revenue hook to appeal to voters, for tax relief. But we've heard that before, and had analysts say, 'Are you kidding yourselves?'"
Lima mentioned that the town is already addressing its comprehensive plan to make concessions for a new 60 acre mixed-use proposal from the Carpianato Group.
"They went through and struck out any references to 'rural character' to push that project through," said Lima. "Tiverton is a complex mix of different socio-economic sections. I think residents would vote against a casino, but I'm hoping that it doesn't even get that far."
Voters in Newport turned away the last two ballot initiatives to bring table games to Newport Grand, despite garnering statewide approval, which ultimately defeated the efforts.
"I'm interested to hear from the town council and the the planning board," said Tiverton School Committee member Carol Herrmann. "Unlike the Carpinato project, that's on residential zoned land. The casino is 40 acres, and its zoned highway commercial -- the word 'casino' doesn't appear in our comprehensive plan or zoning ordinance. We're already doing a comprehensive plan updated, then had the changes for the Carpionato project -- this is another wrench. I don't know what the process be."
"And what would come first? It would need the same statewide and local approval like Newport," said Hermann. "If it has to go to the voters, when does it go to the planning board? Would they have to propose changes? When would that be?"
"I'm curious as to how it would impact residents who live by the Fall River line. Country View estates is an age-restricted community nearby, and they're usually in favor of anything that would lower their taxes," continued Herrmann. "Then you wait for traffic studies. I looked at the map, there are areas mapped "environmentally" sensitive -- what does that mean? Does the DEM get involved?
Herrmann noted the process would be handled town council and planing. "The Superintendent did submit a letter about the Carpionato project, for traffic and safety issues with student and bussing. But apart from student issues, we really have no say," said Herrmann. "We've managed to control costs well on the schools side. We'll see how the Town Council addresses it."
Town Council member Joan Chabot said she had "no comment" on Tuesday. "We'll be having meetings shortly, and I'll have more to say then," said Chabot.
Related Slideshow: New England Casinos - See Who RI is up Against
Below are major casinos that are competing with Rhode Island. Data is taken from reports issued from the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
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