Cloverdale Rancheria might downsize plan for long-awaited casino

The Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians plans to build a casino at this site along Asti Road in Cloverdale, California. Image from Google Maps

The Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians waited so long for a decision on its land-into-trust application that a nearby tribe opened a casino and is almost finished with an expansion project.

The development is prompting the tribe to re-evaluate its own efforts. Plans originally called for a 575,600 square-foot facility, a 244-room hotel, a 984-seat convention center, a 1,300-seat entertainment hall and 3,500 parking spaces but that might not be feasible.

“For us to come in and build something that big, we don’t know if economically it’s in the best interests of the tribe financially,” Administrator Vicky Macias told The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat “I think at this time, it’s off the table.”

But one thing hasn't changed. The tribe is still working with Sealaska, an Alaska Native corporation, on the project.

The tribe started the process in 2008 but the final environmental impact statement wasn't issued until April 2014. Yet that wasn't the end of the matter -- a "conformity determination" added another year to the process.

The tribe then had to wait another year for the BIA to issue the record of decision. Acting assistant secretary Larry Roberts signed the document on on April 26.

“For us, it’s a new beginning. I can’t tell you how excited we are,” Macias told The Press-Democrat.

In the meantime, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria opened the $825 million Graton Resort and Casino, about 38 miles away from the Cloverdale site. The tribe is set to finish a $175 million hotel and convention space this fall.

The Graton casino opened in November 2013, nearly 13 years after the tribe was restored to federal recognition by Congress. The environmental review process took six years.

Get the Story:
Cloverdale Rancheria affirms plans for casino on new homeland, but size and timeline unclear (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 5/7)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Decision Letter | Record of Decision

Federal Register Notice:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians' Proposed 65-Acre Fee-to-Trust Acquisition and Resort Casino Project, Sonoma County, California (April 18, 2014)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Editorial: Work with Cloverdale Rancheria rather than fight casino (5/4)
Cloverdale Rancheria wins approval of casino land-into-trust bid (5/2)
Comment period to close on Cloverdale Rancheria gaming plan (05/19)
BIA advances off-reservation casino projects in California (04/18)
APRN: Sealaska not worried about loss of land for gaming site (10/17)
Cloverdale Rancheria loses a part of casino site in foreclosure (10/13)
Cloverdale Rancheria pushes casino bid amid leadership dispute (12/06)
BIA hosts public meeting on Cloverdale Rancheria casino project (09/17)
Cloverdale Rancheria insists casino on track amid land issue (05/21)
Cloverdale Rancheria wins 'restored' exception (05/13)