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The Boston Globe

Metro

Revere City Council voices support for casino

REVERE — The City Council Monday night unanimously approved a resolution reiterating its support for a casino to be built on the Revere side of Suffolk Downs.

At the same time, the council also affirmed its support for the Nov. 5 referendum where Revere residents voted to support the plan, by a count of 61 percent to 39 percent.

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The resolution called the referendum a “land use vote,” indicating residents were aware that the Revere side of the Suffolk Downs property could be developed. Passed on a roll call vote of 9-to-0, with two councilors absent, the resolution came after the Revere council held a public hearing on zoning changes required for the development to be built.

The zoning change would align the city’s zoning definition of gaming with the state definition. It would also increase building heights from the current 140 feet to 180. Setbacks would also be relaxed to 50 feet from the current 100 feet. In addition, Suffolk Downs is seeking relief from minimum parking requirements.

The council chambers were jammed Monday with a standing-room-only crowd that was made up mostly of supporters, including representatives of the building trades.

Council President Ira Novoselsky limited debate to only a handful of supporters and opponents, whom he asked to speak only on the zoning issue.

“I represent the elderly of Revere, who have been waiting a long time for this casino,” said Rose Napolitano, a senior citizen. “We don’t have much time left, so get it on.”

Her remarks drew wild applause.

But Elaine Anzalotti urged councilors to consider the local impact on the Beachmont neighborhood, where the Mohegan Sun casino development would be located.

“I’ll be hearing traffic 24 hours per day,” she said. “Everyone here who wants it, why don’t you live where I live, and I’ll live where you live.”

Also at Monday’s hearing, Mohegan Sun chief executive officer Mitchell Etess provided a first glimpse of the development: a 300-room hotel under the Mohegan Sun brand, with views of both the Boston skyline and Revere Beach. A second boutique hotel would have 150 to 200 rooms.

There would also be shops, restaurants, and multi-use space for programming, he said.

“We will build something that is reflective of the region,” Etess said. “It has to have that Revere Beach feeling.”

Tensions ran high early at the hearing when an opponent questioned the address for Suffolk Downs that appeared in a legal notice for the council hearing published in a local newspaper.

But Novoselsky said the hearing was properly advertised and could go forth.

John Ribeiro, a casino opponent from Winthrop, was ruled out of order after he spoke against casino gaming in general, and not to the zoning proposal. A police officer told him to sit down or risk being removed.

The council sent the proposal for further study to a subcommittee, which will review the plan at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 at City Hall.

Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine.mccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.

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