In northern California, a proposal from the federally-recognized Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation to expand its Cache Creek Casino Resort has passed a key stage in its development following the release of a tribal environmental impact report on the planned extension.

According to a report from the Daily Democrat newspaper, the Yolo County tribe published the results of the study on Friday in order to address official concerns as well as other possible negative environmental effects that the planned project could yield.

Opened as a bingo hall in 1985 before adding card games in 1993, the Cache Creek Casino Resort has since undergone four expansions or remodels but is still reportedly often operating at capacity with guests regularly unable to extend their visits due to a lack of lodging, particularly at weekends.

In order to address this shortfall, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has proposed adding 459 suites to the site’s existing 200-room hotel, which opened in 2004. This nine-story hotel tower would be joined by a new 100,000-gallon pool, a lounge area and a 13,350 sq ft ballroom with capacity for up to 1,325 guests while 9,475 sq ft of dining space is planned as well as 118 parking stalls and 102,956 sq ft of “back-of-house” space.

In its initial outline for the planned expansion, which would be located in the small community of Brooks some 46 miles northwest of Sacramento, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation declared that the new construction would be “entirely on the trust land” in order to minimize its “off-reservation” footprint.

After receiving the results of the tribal environmental impact report, Alexander Tengolics, Legislative And Government Affairs Specialist for Yolo County, told the newspaper that many of the county’s fears have now been put to rest.

“From a cursory analysis, the [tribal environmental impact report] does not find the project to generate many significant impacts and as such there are few corresponding mitigation measures,” Tengolics told the Daily Democrat. “The most notable proposed mitigation would be the installation of slow vehicle turnouts along both sides of [California State Route 16].”

According to Beth Gabor, a spokesperson for Yolo County, the tribal environmental impact report along with an invitation to comment were provided by the tribe as more of a courtesy since “[Yolo County] does not have a regulatory or approval role for projects occurring on tribal lands held in trust by the federal government”.

The Daily Democrat reported that the tribal environmental impact report did not identify any significant impacts that the planned expansion of the Cache Creek Casino Resort would have on groundwater usage, air quality or noise. In addition, the study explained that off-reservation land use plans along with population growth, housing availability, agricultural resources and recreation and park facilities were likely to be unaffected.

The newspaper explained that the Cache Creek Casino Resort tribal environmental impact report will now be subject to a consultation period that is due to run until November 7 while a public meeting to discuss its results is set to be held on October 13. If this process progresses smoothly, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation revealed that it anticipates starting construction early next year.

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