A draft Tribal Environmental Impact Report for a proposed casino in Yreka is ready for public comment, and citizens have until Dec. 27 to make their concerns or questions known.
The Karuk Tribe Casino Project is a two-phase construction operation intended to bring a large-scale casino and hotel combination to the Yreka area just off of I-5 on Moonlit Oak Avenue.
According to the TEIR, the first phase of the project would include the construction of a 36,497 square foot Class III gaming complex, with a 13,800 square foot gaming floor, 500 game machines, eight table games, a 120 seat restaurant and 556 parking spaces.
Phase two would add 20,000 total square feet, with the addition of 9,500 square feet of gaming floor, 300 additional gaming machines, eight additional table games, a new 100 seat restaurant, a 48,000 square foot hotel with 80 rooms and additional parking spaces.
The objectives listed in the TEIR center on the creation of a revenue source to improve the socioeconomic status of tribal members through the implementation of a variety of programs, include housing, educational, administrative and other programs. Also listed in the document is the potential to provide employment opportunities to tribal and non-tribal community members and additional recreational amenities to surrounding communities and tourists along the I-5 corridor.
Per EIR guidelines, alternatives to the proposed casino are provided in the document, included a 25 percent smaller project and a "no-action alternative" that describes the site being used for other commercial purposes that would have similar impacts to the casino proposal.
According to the TEIR, agencies such as CalTrans, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the county of Siskiyou and the city of Yreka raised various issues during an advisory period earlier this year. A large list of the concerns is provided in the document, including the potential for an increase of pollutants during construction to the need for additional law enforcement resources during the operation of the casino.
For each identified potential impact, the TEIR lists certain mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the impacts to off-reservation resources. In the case of police burdens, it is noted that the tribe intends to enter into negotiations with the Yreka Police Department to reimburse the agency for additional costs incurred due to casino activity. According to the document, preliminary negotiations have indicated that the tribe would likely fund the addition of one full-time officer and and one additional police vehicle.
Other possible impacts - along with proposed mitigating factors – include potential impacts to protected vegetation, noise from construction, advanced deterioration of the Moonlit Oak-Interstate 5 intersection and a host of others. The TEIR states, "Given the design of the Proposed Project and with the implementation of proposed mitigation measures, all potentially significant off-reservation impacts would be reduced to less than significant levels.
"There are no unavoidable or irreversible significant impacts attributable to the Proposed Project."
Page 2 of 2 - Hard copies of the TEIR can be reviewed at the City of Yreka office at 701 4th St., the Siskiyou County Administrative Office at 1312 Fairlane Road in Yreka, the Yreka branch of the Siskiyou County Library at 719 Fourth St. and the Karuk Tribal Housing Authority at 1836 Apsuun Road in Yreka.
Written comments on the TEIR can be submitted to the following address if postmarked by Dec. 27:
Attn: Scott Quinn
P.O. Box 1016
Happy Camp, CA 96039