Chumash Tribe to unveil casino expansion as foes return to court

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians owns and operates the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California. Photo from Facebook

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is set to debut a $160 million casino expansion this month but opponents are still trying to stop the project.

A group called Save the Valley already lost two lawsuits in protest of the work at the Chumash Casino Resort. But a third one alleges that the tribe is using too much water at the site, Courthouse News Service reported.

The tribe, however, is not named as a defendant. The group is suing the state of California, Santa Barbara County and the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District — Improvement District No. 1 in Santa Barbara County Court in hopes of enforcing what they say are water restrictions in a deed that allegedly includes the casino site.

The expansion features a 12-story hotel tower with 215 rooms, 75,000 additional square-feet of gaming space, a 20,000 square-foot pool deck, new food and beverage venues and a parking garage with 584 spaces. It's due to open on May 20.

The new lawsuit is Save the Valley v. The State of California, et. al., No. 16CV01915.

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