Controversial plans for a major expansion of a hotel, and casino on the Central Coast are the focus of an open house tonight.
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is holding an event on its planned expansion of the Chumash Casino Resort, in the Santa Ynez Valley. The tribe wants to add 215 hotel rooms in a 12 story tower, plus 60,000 square feet to its casino. Officials say the original hotel on the site was undersized, and has never been able to meet the demand. But, some neighbors are upset with the prospect of the resort in the rural area getting larger.
Because the tribe is a sovereign government, it doesn’t have to go through the Santa Barbara County planning review process. However, the tribe says it’s offered to meet with the county to discuss mitigation for potential environmental impacts. Tribal officials say the expansion will create hundreds of new jobs.
Chumash officials say the 6 p.m. event in the casino’s showroom isn’t a question and answer event, but a chance for the public to learn more about the plans, and make comments for the tribe to review.