By Kellie Patrick Gates
Foxwoods Casino is once again trying to persuade the state Supreme Court to grant it the zoning it needs to build along the Delaware Riverfront.
Officials filed a petition with the court on December 28, asking that the Court declare that their South Philadelphia site is within a Commercial Entertainment District – the zoning classification that would allow a casino to operate there.
This may sound familiar.
Foxwoods officials have long maintained that the City of Philadelphia has been stalling on the CED issue, and first tried to convince the state’s high court to intervene in June. They were denied.
Then early last month, the Supreme Court granted the CED designation to Philadelphia’s other proposed waterfront casino, SugarHouse.
Because the circumstances for Foxwoods and SugarHouse are similar, Foxwoods filed a motion asking the court to reconsider its decision in the June case. But City Council hoped to use the same similarities to a different end, and filed a petition asking the court to reconsider its SugarHouse ruling and deny it as it had denied Foxwoods.
The Court said no to Foxwoods on Dec. 21, and to City Council on Dec. 31.
But Foxwoods attorney Michael Coran said the court’s opinion contained statements from Justice Ronald D. Castille – who will be Chief Justice after the court is reorganized this month – that gave casino officials reasons to be hopeful, and to file the latest petition. Castille wrote that he would give Foxwoods another opportunity to amend their original petition.
“My interpretation is that he was saying ‘it’s not readily apparent to me from all the papers that we, the court, have seen that you have the same set of operative facts that SugarHouse experienced, but I would give you another chance to lay that out.”
Foxwoods has also asked that the court expedite a ruling on its case. “We’ve been waiting a heck of a long time to get the approval, and it’s costing everybody a ton of money,” Coran said.
City Council filed a petition Thursday asking the court not to expedite, said Brian Abernathy, spokesman for Councilman Frank DiCicco, in whose district both casino sites lay.