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Thursday, March 23, 2023
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DeJongh Vetoes Casino-Height Legislation

Gov. John deJongh Jr. vetoed legislation that would have automatically allowed a casino on St. Croix located in zoning areas R-3 or R-5 to have up to eight floors, Saturday, a day before leaving office.

The bill was proposed during legislative session by Sens. Sammuel Sanes, Nereida "Nellie" Rivera-O’Reilly and Alicia "Chucky" Hansen. It was placed on the agenda and approved during session Dec. 19 without hearings, testimony or witnesses and little discussion. (See related links below.

In his letter to the Legislature explaining his actions, deJongh said he broadly supported the gambling industry and development projects, but changing the laws needs to be considered more carefully.

"Increasing the maximum height of casinos within the R-3 and R-5 zoning districts from six stories to eight stories may not appear on its face to be a dramatic change," deJongh said. "However even this modification to the law should be guided by the established protocols and processes to ensure that the necessary public hearings are conducted and public comments are solicited," he said.

He asked supporters of the measure to get input from all the parties and the neighbors of a proposed casino, to determine its impact "to adjacent land and home owners and to determine community readiness."

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