State court won't block casino near Richmond
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
(05-12) 16:16 PDT RICHMOND -- The state Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review an agreement between the city of Richmond and an Indian tribe that wants to build a casino on 30 acres near the waterfront.
The City Council approved a proposal in December 2006 to provide police, firefighting and other municipal services to the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians in exchange for nearly $330 million over 20 years.
The city also promised to support the tribe's efforts to acquire the land from the federal government and win approval for a casino with 2,000 slot machines and 50 gambling tables. It would be located in an unincorporated area just north of Richmond.
The agreement was challenged by the neighborhood council of Parchester Village, a poor, largely African American subdivision near the casino site, and by East Bay environmental groups. A Superior Court judge ruled in their favor in 2008, saying the city should have conducted an environmental study before approving the plan.
But the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco reinstated the agreement in February. In a 3-0 ruling, the court said the casino isn't a Richmond project and would not affect the city's environment.
Richmond must prepare an environmental review only if it decides to build a fire station or other public works to accommodate the casino, the appeals court said. It also noted that the tribe will have to conduct its own environmental study while seeking federal and state approval.
The state Supreme Court unanimously denied review of the case Wednesday. Stephan Volker, a lawyer for opponents of the casino, said the court had ignored the casino's inevitable effects on nearby Richmond streets.
Neighboring residents "will be facing massive increases in traffic, noise, air pollution and crime, with no means of preventing the project from proceeding," Volker said.
The case is Parchester Village Neighborhood Council vs. Richmond, S181663.
E-mail Bob Egelko at firstname.lastname@example.org.