New Hampshire: Zoning Board rejects appeal to block new casino and hotel project in Concord

A proposed casino in Concord, New Hampshire, saw a small victory when an attempt to block the new gaming hall near Loudon Road was rejected, after a Concord Zoning Board ruling found that an appeal of a planning board decision was filed months too late.

The Concord Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) 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.

The aforementioned resident argued that a casino and microbrewery are not allowed in the city’s gateway performance district. However, David Hall, the city’s code administrator, had sustained they were allowed, reports Concord Monitor.

Andy Sanborn, former state senator and owner of Draft Sports Bar & Grill and the Concord Casino, a small-scale charitable gaming operation in downtown Concord, is behind the project. The development calls for a 43,000-square-foot casino, bar, and hotel on the city’s east side, near Exit 3 of Interstate 393

Andy Sanborn

The proposed building will feature 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. A second phase of the project calls for a hotel and event center.

Aside from asking the ZBA to put aside the Planning Board’s approval, the resident 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 the proposed casino faces 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. A hearing is set for Friday, October 13 for Sanborn to challenge the agency’s decision.