Capay Valley's Cache Creek Casino Wants to Expand

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(Capay Valley, CA)
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Capay Valley, west of Woodland, is almost entirely lush farmland – with a few tiny towns sprinkled in.  There’s just one exception: the Cache Creek Casino Resort, which pops up out of nowhere along a two-lane highway in the middle of the valley.  The Tribe that owns the resort, the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians, wants to add nearly 500 rooms, several restaurants and extra gaming space.  Casino GM Randy Takamoto says the expansion is necessary because existing rooms are in high demand.
Takamoto: “We’re pretty much operating at full capacity in our hotel.  We’re turning down so much business.  There is a need to accommodate that pressure on us.  Otherwise, we feel from a competitive standpoint, we’re gonna lose the business.” 
But there’s long been an uneasy relationship between the casino and local residents.  Tom Frederick with Capay Valley Vineyards lives next door.  He says the community wants the Tribe to find a way to reduce the flow of traffic along the two-lane highway.
Frederick: “That would alleviate a lot of the impacts.  Because you have to remember, this is 24/7.  The residents that live along the road are impacted day and night.  And the traffic actually during the night is almost same as during the day.” 
Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan says the county doesn’t have the authority to veto the project, since the Tribe signed a compact with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  But officials will get to sit down with the Tribe, to work out the best ways to offset the environmental impacts, like increased traffic, water demand and lighting.
McGowan: “The Tribe and the county have evolved gradually but steadily to having a much, much better government-to-government relationship.  So to be candid with you, I’m putting a lot of faith in our ability to negotiate here with our neighbor.” 
The two sides will have 55 days to do that, once the Tribe certifies its final environmental impact report.  Takamoto says the casino hopes to begin construction later this year.