By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO August 22, 2003 The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians/Trading Cove Internationals casino plans for Bridgeville Road off Exit 107 on Route 17 took a step forward Tuesday night, when the Town of Thompson held a scoping session on the project before the regular board meeting Tuesday night.
At the start of the session, the plans were reviewed by Town Engineer Richard McGoey of McGoey, Hauser, and Edsall. McGoey reviewed the general process involved.
McGoey stated the town is looking to be the lead agency on the project. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has already been submitted and is being reviewed. That will go on until September 23. Around October 21, the DEIS can be submitted as complete. Then 30 days are allowed for comments.
In the first week of November, a public hearing would be held. If no significant impacts are found, the project could move ahead by years end, tentatively speaking.
Stockbridge President Bob Chicks then showed a video history of the job. He introduced those with him and reviewed their project, saying they have an application with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to take 333 acres into trust on Bridgeville Road. Of that, 140 acres would be for the casino.
We are working toward the goal, Chicks commented. We have some early designs and various ideas. There are no final designs yet. We want the design to be unique and unduplicated.
The tribes environmental attorney, Bridget Swankey, went over the NEPA (federal environmental review) process.
We looked at a variety of impacts, Swankey stated. When we submitted the study in December 2002, we got six public comments. We have addressed them. We will complete the federal process.
It was then turned over to one of the project designers, Amy Green. She stated they were focusing on three main improvement areas: the roadway, water supply, and wastewater. They plan to turn the two-lane Bridgeville Road to a four-lane road to better accommodate traffic. Also, the bridge must be raised and extended.
The group has started talks with the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to partner in the improvements. All of the improvements would be paid for by the tribe.
The tribe is currently negotiating with the Village of Monticello for water service. The tribe has an agreement with the town for wastewater removal.
This will broaden our tax base, remarked Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini. This will reduce the burden on the taxpayer. All these costs will be borne by the developer.
There was very little public comment, but people still have time to submit comments on the scoping document.