TOWNSEND -- The possibility of a slots parlor opening in neighboring Leominster has some local officials concerned about potential negative impacts on the town.
Selectmen authorized Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan to negotiate on behalf of the town with casino developers to ensure that Townsend's interests are represented if the proposal is approved by the state Gaming Commission.
"There are some concerns that I have about the potential impact of a slots parlor in Leominster -- most notably the impacts on traffic," Sheehan said. "However, there are also some benefits that we would expect."
Sheehan said he is working with both town counsel and neighboring communities to ensure that Townsend feels those positive benefits more than the negative ones.
"We're hoping to approve this with a unified front to attempt to mitigate the effects of this project on Townsend," Sheehan said.
Selectman Colin McNabb said that residents would be primarily concerned with an influx of traffic in the rural town.
"Obviously, traffic is a huge concern for residents," McNabb said.
An agreement between Townsend and the developers will be presented to selectmen at a future meeting, Sheehan said.
"This is all fairly fast-tracked, so we're going to try to move quickly," Sheehan said.
Leominster is one of three proposed sites for the state's only slots-parlor license. The choice between Leominster, Raynham and Plainridge is expected to be made in December or January.
Selectmen also voted to postpone Special Town Meeting until Nov. 19.
Previously scheduled for Oct. 29, the meeting is being postponed to allow time to finish negotiating collective-bargaining contracts.
Sheehan said that although the meeting is later than usual, the date was chosen to avoid the Veterans Day and Thanksgiving holidays.
"It's getting into that busy time, but it's still a time where we'd be able to manage a quorum," he said.
The Town Meeting warrant will be reviewed at the next selectmen's meeting Oct. 22.
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