Previously: Senecas buy 32 acres in Henrietta for possible casino
Q&A: The proposed casino in Henrietta
Board member Ken Breese added: "The input was pretty clear. This community doesn't want it."
Phil Pantano, spokesman for the Seneca Gaming Corp., gave no indication after the vote whether the Senecas would continue to seek Henrietta as a site for the casino. "Time will tell," he said.
The Gaming Corp, which represents the Seneca Nation of Indians in gambling matters, issued a statement after the vote saying that a new Seneca casino could bring $200 million in private capital investment and more than 1,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs.
Criticizing the board for acting "prematurely," the statement said that the "first step in developing a project is to engage the community" and "to discuss the projects benefits with the Henrietta community."
The Senecas declined to appear before the Town Board Wednesday, with Kevin W. Seneca, chairman of the Gaming Corp, saying that "under the circumstances, we feel there is little benefit to make the presentation at this point."
Wednesday's vote came after recent Town Board meetings have been packed with opponents of the casino and after the Gaming Corp., on March 3, purchased 32 acres of vacant land for $2.75 million on Clay Road for a casino development site in Henrietta.
Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore said the invitation is open for the Senecas to make a presentation at a future date. Both Moore and Henrietta Town Attorney Daniel Mastrella said the town's vote can't stop the casino.
"All we can do is advise," said Moore. "The reason that we are going to do this resolution tonight is to say that we don't want gaming here in Henrietta."
The Town Board's resolution would be considered in a complicated approval process for a casino that involves state and federal officials.
Elected officials as well as the Secretary of the Interior are supposed to be notified of the town's opposition.
The resolution sites "concerns about the negative impacts" that a casino would have on "the quality of life in Henrietta," as well as the long-term economic effect.
Some of these concerns were noted by the speakers in the public comment session before Wednesday's vote.
"This is not a harmless activity," said Henrietta resident Robert Goldstein, a psychologist who had directed a unit at Strong Memorial Hospital that treated addictive behavior.
Goldstein objected to the term "gaming," adding: "We're talking about gambling."
Henrietta resident Goody Freed was one of four residents who spoke in favor of the casino. "It will only bring jobs," Freed said.
He also questioned whether the casino would be disruptive to the community. "We're not talking about a stadium. People trickle in. People trickle out," Freed said.
But other speakers questioned the value of having a casino in Henrietta. "How is Henrietta going to benefit?" asked town resident David Christensen. JGOODMAN@DemocratandChronicle.com