On Monday, the Department of City Planning introduced a new measure aimed at simplifying the application process for casinos in New York City. However, this move has sparked criticism for potentially sidelining community boards.
This initiative, discreetly submitted last Friday, emerges amidst intense competition among prominent developers for one of the three sought-after casino licenses in the downstate area.
Dan Garodnick, the City Planning Commissioner, described the measure, formally known as a zoning text amendment, as an effort to streamline the alignment of city and state procedures during a meeting on Monday.
Garodnick explained, “Our proposal is designed to level the playing field for these entities as they strive to demonstrate the economic benefits they plan to bring to New York City. Our goal is to establish a process that facilitates an orderly dialogue.”
While the state is responsible for granting casino licenses, Garodnick and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams expressed concerns in October about the city’s current land review processes. They argued that these processes are insufficient for new casinos, placing New York in a less competitive position.
The proposed amendment aims to simplify the review process, allowing state-sanctioned casinos to proceed without zoning conflicts or redundant steps in the state’s extensive licensing procedure, according to Garodnick.
With two of the downstate licenses likely going to existing racinos in Yonkers and South Ozone Park, Queens, the battle for the remaining license in New York City is intense. City Planning has confirmed eight potential locations, including five in Midtown Manhattan, one at Ferry Point in the Bronx, one in Queens proposed by Mets owner Steve Cohen, and another in Brooklyn near Coney Island, in addition to the Queens racino.