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Howe Caverns Site Ahead of Curve on Environmental Study

Written By Editor on 5/3/14 | 5/3/14

Cobleskill, NY – During the mandatory meeting of the 22 interested parties looking to be approved to build one of four casinos in New York State, the repeated concern of the day was the ability to meet the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR). 

“It became clear at the meeting that several potential developers are concerned over meeting the requirements and doing so in a timely fashion.  Howe Caverns has already completed a SEQR review giving us a leg up as a true ready to build site for a casino,” Emil Galasso, President of Howe Caves Development Corporation, said.

A SEQR review requires the sponsoring or approving governmental body to identify and mitigate the significant environmental impacts of the activity it is proposing or permitting. This process can take upwards of 18 months.

This becomes of serious concerns to potential casino developers and operators as licensees can be fined for failing to open for gambling within two years of getting a license, and must declare any obstacles to completing the environmental review.

“Time and again, we have shown that Howe Caverns is one of the premier sites in New York to build a casino.  We have over 330 acres of true shovel ready land that can be built on immediately.  This includes the cumbersome and time consuming SEQR review.” Galasso said.

Our proposal is consistent with the Governor's stated goals to target areas in need and build destination resorts in communities that express local support.  I think it is becoming clearer each day that Howe Caverns is the best site with least obstacles for the quick, successful development of a casino,” Galasso continued.

Howe Caverns has been in operation since 1842.  In 2007, businessmen Emil Galasso and Charles Wright purchased Howe Caverns and since that time, have updated the original facility and added outdoor attractions such as the Howe High Adventure Park. 

Howe Caverns sits on a beautiful mountainside with spectacular views overlooking the Helderberg Plateau.  It is located just off Interstate 88, about 30 minutes from Oneonta and Cooperstown to the west, and 30 minutes from Albany to the east and 2.5 hours from NYC. 
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Unknown said...

While I applaud Schoharie News for reporting on the progress of the casino issue, some effort must be put into that reporting. Howe Caverns is making statements that are simply untrue and they should have been challenged. They claim that they have competed a SEQRA review for the casino? There is no developer, no blueprints, no documented operating conditions, and no site plan but somehow they completed the environmental review? They may have completed an environmental review for a zip line, an RV campground, dinosaur park or some other proposal but that is irrelevant.

The SEQRA for a casino would be separate issue and would have to be undertaken for the Howe Cavern site just like any other proposed casino site. Further, the applicant completes only part of the SEQRA form. The other part is completed by the Lead Agency which may or not be the Town of Cobleskill with input from “Involved” and “Interested Agencies” (Of which there may be many). None of that has happened for a casino project. They can say the environmental review has been completed but that does not make it true and in this case it isn’t true. I would encourage the Schoharie News to ask hard questions and print investigated stories rather than untrue PR statements made by would-be developers trying to hype their chances in a competitive process.

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