A federal ruling has thrown a wrench into plans to build a casino in Taunton.
U.S. District Judge William G. Young ruled Thursday in favor of homeowners seeking to block the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe from building the $1 billion complex.
The Boston Globe reported that Young ruled the U.S. Interior Department “lacked the authority” to designate the land as a Native American reservation.
The department’s 2015 decision to place more than 300 acres in trust for the benefit of the tribe paved the way for the First Light casino project.
The casino, hotel and entertainment complex broke ground in April, months after a group of local residents filed suit seeking to block it.
Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye said local voters overwhelmingly approved the project and he hopes the secretary of the interior will appeal the ruling.
“While an adverse trial court ruling was always possible, it is nonetheless disappointing,” Hoye said in a statement emailed to NBC 10 News. “The City, along with the Tribe, will explore all of our options and we remain hopeful that the project will ultimately go forward, so that the City, its residents, and our region can reap economic opportunity from Project First Light.”
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