Town officials are keeping an eye on development plans for a proposed racino at Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville to ensure Foxborough doesn’t miss out on potential mitigation as a neighboring community.
“I have been following it,” said Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis. “I reached out to [Plainville] Town Administrator Joseph Fernandes and gave him a heads up I was going to reach out to [Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen about the issue].”
DeVellis discussed the issue with board members Tuesday, informing them he has reached out to the state’s Gaming Commission.
“Under [the Gaming Commission’s] bylaws we would be addressing [the proposed racino] as a community impacted as an abutter,” DeVellis said.
However, DeVellis told The Sun Chronicle Wednesday he has heard reports from the Plainridge developer that Foxborough is not considered to be a surrounding community of the proposed racino because the traffic study focuses on Routes 495 and 1.
"We will know shortly when the application is submitted, but I would adamantly say that [not considering Foxborough as surrounding community] would not be a wise first step considering how versed our town is to the casino process over the past year,” DeVellis told the Chronicle. “I know residents along Spruce Street and Route 106, which leads into Plainville, are very concerned.”
One of those residents on Spruce Street attended Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting to express his concern.
“My concern is over a year ago my wife came in [to a Foxborough BOS meeting] and mentioned Plainridge is applying for a racino,” said Spruce Street resident Chris Mitchell. “[Developer has] already started building a $20 million parking garage and has sent a non-refundable $400,000 check to the state [as part of the application for the state's only license to operate a slot parlor].”
Mitchell asked the board if the town has started looking into the issue as an abutter. DeVellis assured Mitchell and other concerned residents the proposal is very much on Foxborough’s radar.
“I requested the state’s Gaming Commission come to our [Board of Selectmen] meeting in February and give us an overview of what it means to be in the category of an abutting community and what steps we can take so when things come together we are better prepared and then go in a direction of hiring a consultant so we are not just saying it’s schools, it’s money, it’s traffic,” DeVellis said. “There’s a professional that looks at it so we will have Plainville’s take on it, the proponent’s (applicant’s) take on it and then we will have our take on it. Hopefully we are in step with the schedule.”
Developers are proposing to build a 1,250 slot machine parlor at Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville if the track receives the state’s only slot parlor gaming license.
The deadline for developers to submit applications to the Gaming Commission is Jan. 15.