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 (AP File Photo/Keith Srakocic)

FOXBORO - A local lawyer and advisory committee member wants the Kraft Group to bind itself legally to its no-casino pledge.

Howard Siegal, one of the residents who questioned the casino matter during a recent planning board meeting, said he intends to urge selectmen to ask the Kraft Group to enter into a legal agreement with the town that would prohibit any future use of Kraft-owned land as a casino.

Only after such an agreement is signed should the town negotiate development deals involving zoning changes requested by the company, Siegal said.

"If the Kraft Group truly and honestly wanted to put the gambling issue behind the town, all it needs to do is enter into an agreement that there will never be gambling on the property on Route 1," Siegal said. "Do it in an agreement that is legally binding and that runs with the land, and can be recorded with the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds."

Jeff Cournoyer, a spokesman for the Kraft Group, declined to comment Tuesday on the proposal.

However, last week he said the Kraft Group has no plans to pursue a casino. At that time he noted that town bylaws do not allow for a gambling facility and that cannot change without a two-thirds vote from the town.

The Kraft Group is working on zoning proposals to allow lodging and entertainment on its land across Route 1 from Gillette Stadium, but not gambling.

Siegal said he is speaking only for himself, not for his colleagues on the advisory committee.

An 18-year Foxboro resident, Siegal supported the successful election campaigns of two candidates, Virginia Coppola and Lorraine Brue, who strongly opposed The Kraft Group's move to host a Wynn Resorts casino on Kraft-owned land.

Citing the May election results, the Kraft Group and Wynn at the time jointly announced that their casino plan was being suspended.

During the Oct. 11 planning board meeting, three people, including Vice Chairman William Grieder spoke of ongoing concerns that a casino may still be in the offing, given the similarity of the Kraft Group's new zoning requests, compared with zoning requests last year.

Siegal requested that no zoning changes be passed until all of the state's casino licenses are issued, the draft minutes of the planning board session say.

John Murtaugh, a Walpole planning board member, said the language in the rezoning proposals is "very similar to last year and feels that the definition for spa could lead to a casino," those draft minutes say.

Kraft development executive Dan Krantz "explained that they have been approached by family resort destinations akin to indoor water parks, but zoning doesnt allow it," the minutes say.

Grieder "stated that the definition is very broad and people are still concerned about a gaming facility."

Part of the Kraft Group's rezoning proposal - which would require town meeting approval - adds language to include outdoor resort, conference facilities, business meetings, sporting events, concerts, family events and amusement and trade shows.

Cournoyer said last week it was irresponsible for people to use the wording of the new zoning requests to accuse the Kraft Group of trying to revive the casino idea.

With three casino licenses yet to be awarded by the state, Siegal maintains that continued vigilance on the casino matter is civic responsibility.

"As long as the gambling sword is hanging over our head, I don't think the town should enter into any zoning concessions at all," he said.

The zoning request discussion will continue at 8 p.m. Nov. 8.

(1) comment

charlieboy

Isn't this request being made by a lawyer a little dishonest? I mean, a lawyer asking someone else to make a pledge when many people feel lawyers only lie when they start talking.

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