The state Supreme Court yesterday again denied a request from Foxwoods, a proposed riverfront casino in South Philly, to sidestep the city's zoning control and start construction.
Foxwoods sued City Council in June after no member acted on Mayor Street's request to introduce zoning legislation needed to start the project.
The Supreme Court in November rejected Foxwoods' complaint that Council illegally changed zoning for its location on Columbus Boulevard and Reed Street from commercial to residential and used that and other tactics to stall the project. The court noted that the issue was not "ripe" because Foxwoods had not been denied anything by the city because of its new zoning.
The court sent the case down to the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia.
The casino's investors found new hope on Dec. 3, when the Supreme Court ruled for SugarHouse, another proposed riverfront casino. SugarHouse had complained that its zoning legislation, which had been introduced in Council, was bottled up in a committee that never voted on the issue.
The court agreed that the delay was the same as denial and ordered the city to change the zoning on SugarHouse's site in Fishtown and issue building permits.
Foxwoods went back to the court a day after that ruling, asking for the chance to reargue its case with the same legal theory used by SugarHouse.
The court denied that request in a one-paragraph order yesterday afternoon. Two of the court's seven justices, Ronald Castille and Max Baer, issued concurring statements that suggested they needed more information from Foxwoods. Castille wrote that he wanted to allow Foxwoods to submit information to support the claim that it faces the same predicament as SugarHouse.
Baer wrote that the court is not allowed to consider facts that have not been submitted by Foxwoods.
Foxwoods spokeswoman Maureen Garrity responded in a statement that the casino investors are confident they are entitled to the same result that SugarHouse got from the court.
"While we were hopeful the Supreme Court would grant us the same relief they granted SugarHouse through a rehearing, we are still in a position to receive that relief from . . . Common Pleas," Garrity said. "We are also reviewing our legal options, which include . . . [an] appeal to the Supreme Court." *