Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A local voice in gaming

It seems obvious that Philadelphia should have some say in the choice/placement of future gaming (slots) sites within its borders. However, apparently it doesn't:
The Gaming Control Board will award licenses and determine the placement and design of two slot parlors in Philadelphia, irrespective of existing zoning, building and design codes. The city can only offer its advice.
Wacky. Anyway, to make sure that we have some intelligent advice, Mayor Street has created a task-force to develop and present some plans for the two parlors that are to be located here.
Street said he wanted the city task force to recommend where the slots might go and to review the potential effect on parking and traffic. The task force also is expected to consider neighborhood impact and how the slot-parlor designs would affect city streets.
I don't recognize any of the three names listed to be chairs of the group (which will total 30), but they sound like the right people for the job based on the descriptions given...

The whole thing reminds me a bit of city zoning decisions, in which the neighborhood civic associations can make a recommendation (and the developers make sure to make persuasive presentations to win their endorsement as well as to win over the neighbors) but the city will make the final decisions about permits and variances. The local folks have a much better idea of the specific impact of the plans, but the city may want to allow development to a greater degree than the individuals worried about their views. Nobody gets exactly what they want, but it's the only way to try for a decent balance. If we have to have gambling here (and I'm not an enthusiast), then let's at least do it in a way that gives the city maximum benefit and minimum disaster.


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