ZBA challenge to new Concord casino gets rejected but other obstacles remain

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 10-06-2023 6:00 PM

One of the attempts to block a new gaming hall near Loudon Road has been rejected following a Concord Zoning Board ruling that an appeal of a planning board decision was filed months too late.

Concord Zoning Board of Adjustment ruled 5-0 Wednesday night that under city law, the appeal by city resident Kassey Cameron should have been filed within 30 days of the Planning Board’s initial decision to accept the plan for a charitable gaming facility and microbrewery back in January, even though the project was not approved until June. Because of the timing issue, the ZBA did not take up the issue of whether gambling is one of the permitted uses in that area of the city.

Cameron had argued that a casino and microbrewery are not allowed in the city’s gateway performance district. David Hall, the city’s code administrator, said he believed they were allowed.

Former state senator Andy Sanborn has proposed building a 24,000-square-foot gaming room with 634 seats and an 8,500-square-foot restaurant and brewpub that can hold up to 150 diners near the intersection of Loudon and Sheep Davis roads, close to Interstate 393. A second phase of the project calls for a hotel and event center. Sanborn owns the Draft Sports Bar & Grill and the Concord Casino on South Main Street.

Aside from asking the ZBA to put aside the Planning Board’s approval, Cameron has also filed a lawsuit against the city asking a judge to invalidate the surprise decision made by the Planning Board in June on the grounds that she and other residents would have attended the meeting had they been aware the application would be heard that night. The lawsuit argues the Planning Board’s vote should be void because people were specifically told the project was not up for discussion that night. Instead, Sanborn forced the board to vote after submitting a one-page traffic report to board members with little advance notice.

Another obstacle involves the New Hampshire Lottery Commission’s decision to strip Sanborn of his licenses to operate a charitable gaming casino in the state due to an investigation accusing him of fraudulently using COVID-19 relief funds to support a lavish lifestyle, including buying race cars for himself and his wife, State Rep Laurie Sanborn. A hearing is set for Friday, Oct. 13 for Sanborn to challenge the agency’s decision.

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