Anti-casino petition gets response - Philadelphia News

CITY HALL - November 12, 2008 Today, they took their opposition right to the mayor's office, complete with thousands of signatures.

A total of 7 neighborhood groups called on Mayor Nutter to call off tomorrow's city council vote on rezoning legislation that would set the stage for the Foxwood casino to be built at the Gallery shopping mall in Center City.

They gathered in front of the Mayor's office this afternoon, armed with nearly 24,000 signatures from residents who don't want a casino in their neighborhood:

"Chinatowns across the country including Philadelphia's Chinatown have experienced urban developments that we have not wanted in our communities over the many years, the last one being the Phillies' baseball stadium almost 10 years ago." John Chin of Chinatown Development Corporation said.

City Council's Rules Committee voted about two weeks ago to rezone the Gallery shopping area in Center City for the proposed casino project.

The full city council will vote on it tomorrow morning at its regular weekly session.

"The mayor and Councilman Dichicco made it clear that they intend to have a much better process than the waterfront communities got," Matt Rubin of the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association said.

"When he ran he talked about letting neighborhoods decide what works for their communities. this isn't that and he knows it," Rob Stuart of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association said.

Then it was an unexpected meeting with the mayor when he emerged from his office to hear their complaints and accept their petitions.

Later, he assured the group that while he supports the rezoning legislation, the process will be an open one that will take four to six more months.

"So even if the bill were to pass and be signed it does not allow, at the moment, Foxwoods or anyone else to put a casino at the gallery," Mayor Nutter said.

Those opposed to tomorrow's vote say it's premature to have a vote on the rezoning bill, when Foxwood's hasn't even come up with a development plan.

There will be more hearings and public forums on the project in the coming months.

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