Seneca County group sues to keep casino out of Tyre

The proposed casino site in Tyre.

Bidding is underway for four privately owned casinos in Upstate New York. One of the locations under consideration is in Seneca County.

Wilmorite has acquired land off the New York State Thruway in the Town of Tyre with the plans to build a casino, but the developer and the town now facing a lawsuit by those who say the process to zone the site hasn't been done properly.

Back in February, the Tyre Town Board voted unanimously for the planned unit development - or PUD - law. The law that, according to Mario Fratto, attorney for the group Casino Free Tyre, was drafted by the developer changes the zoning laws to allow for large commercial projects like a casino.

The 61 plaintiffs in the case said they were not properly represented by their elected officials. The majority of voters voted against the casino last year, and many voiced their concerns about the project at multiple public hearing.

Fratto, who is also the attorney for the plaintiffs, said the PUD law also conflicts with the town's comprehensive plan.

"This is the closest a person can get to government," he said. "You know your local representatives, and they were kind of hoping for them to reflect the community's values. I hope that these politicians, especially the local officials, reconsider this. I really do because this was rushed through. Anytime you make a decision that has this big of an impact on your own community, you have to take very strong precautions and in this case caution was thrown to the wind."

The Town of Tyre did not return a request for comment.

The case is scheduled to go before a judge April 8.

(Information from WHAM-TV in Rochester.)