California’s Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has informed the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors that it plans to expand its Chumash Casino Resort, which opened ten years ago.
The resort, which is on the 138-acre reservation, needs a larger hotel, commented tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta in a letter to the board. “We are in the process of taking the first steps in planning improvements on our reservation property,” he wrote. “Once we get further along in the process, a new tribal environmental process will be initiated with both the County of Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley neighbors.”
The chairman explained that the tribe didn’t build a large enough hotel initially.
“We are now faced with the problem of not having enough rooms to accommodate all the guests at our gaming facility and not enough rooms to address the potential growth in the market,” he wrote. The tribe is mulling more rooms, an expanded gaming floor and more slot machines.
Currently the four-story hotel has 123 rooms. It is considering adding 215.
The casino has 2,000 slots and scores of gaming tables. Another 1,000 bingo games and more concert space are being contemplated. A new parking structure with room for 750 more spaces is being considered, as well.
The food court and buffet may also be increased in size and upgraded. The existing tribal state gaming compact would not require amendment for any of these actions to take place.
The tribe’s actual and potential land purchases have created considerable controversy in this Central California County next to the Pacific. Particularly the tribe’s proposal to put 1,400 acres of agricultural land in Santa Ynez, dubbed Camp 4, into trust, a proposal that is now being considered by Congress after moving slowly through the fee-to-trust process of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.