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New zoning law could pave way for Seneca County casino

Tyre, N.Y. At town board meetings in Tyre, N.Y. board members outnumbered the public, until recently.

Since Wilmorite proposed to develop a casino in Tyre, a rural town along the thruway in Seneca County, dozens of residents have been making a point to go to the meetings. An anticipated crowd for a meeting on Thursday night prompted the board to move to a new location for more space.

Thursdays meeting was no exception, people packed into the fire department collecting packets of information at the door, armed with questions and concerns about the future of their town.

We just feel it would be a complete disaster to have this come in here, said James Dawley of the group, Casino Free Tyre. Dawley and his wife have started a grassroots effort to try to stop the building of a casino. Its a critical time because theres so much language about the casino in this law and it needs to stop now.

On Thursdays agenda were the towns comprehensive plan and a new zoning law.

The proposed law is called Planned Unit Development (PUD). It changes the towns current zoning laws to allow for larger commercial projects. 

During the public hearing, multiple community members voiced their concerns about PUD and the possible casino.

Two members of the town of Tyres planning board asked for the votes that they cast last month in favor of PUD to be rescinded, because they didnt feel like they fully understood the law.

We certainly want to keep the town as rural as possible, but we also need to understand that development is going to occur near the thruway exit, and the 318 and 414 intersection," said Tyre Town Supervisor Ron McGreevy. "We need to be prepared for that. 

McGreevy and the town board voted unanimously for both the comprehensive plan and PUD at Thursday's meeting.

In anticipation of a casino allocation coming forward, said McGreevy. To this day there has been no application but were trying to be proactive.

But for residents said that the town board is moving too fast.

It may be hard for someone too realized, to look at a bare field and say, 'This needs development,' when the people from Tyre look at it and say, "Its a victory that its still bare ground, and its farmable, and useable for the agricultural zone and community that we are,' said Dawley.

The proposed casino would be developed by Wilmorite, which has acquired 96 acres of land just north of exit 41 on the New York StateThruway.

The proposed Wilmot casino includes a hotel, parking garage, entertainment venue, three restaurants and a spa.

According to Wilmorite, the casino would create 1,800 permanent jobs and generate $7.8 million annually for the town and county to share.

 
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