Should the Urban Growth Boundary be Extended If It Means No Casino?

Plans for land southeast of Petaluma has prompted talks of extending the urban growth boundary in exchange of promise from Dry Creek Rancheria Pomo Indians to not build a casino there


Urban growth boundaries restrict development, encourage eco-friendly in-fill projects and reduce suburban sprawl.

Petaluma implemented such a boundary in 1998 and recently extended it until 2025.

But plans of a future casino off Kastania Road have some wondering whether it would be better to extend the boundary (and put in city sewer and water services on the parcel) in exchange for a guarantee that the tribe that owns the land won’t turn it into a casino, the Argus Courier is reporting.

The public would likely be opposed to a casino on Petaluma southereastern edge, just off Highway 101.

But the city would have virtually no say in the project, since the land is owned by the Dry Creek Rancheria Pomo Band of Indians. However, the tribe's chairman, Harvey Hopkins, has said the group is also interested in a building something different, including recreational fields, housing for tribal elders and commercial and industrial properties.

In exchange, the tribe wants water and sewer services to be extended to the property, located east of Highway 101.

But because the parcel lies outside of Petaluma's urban growth boundary, any extension would have to be approved by voters, according to the Argus.

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Then tell us, do support extending the city’s Urban Growth Boundary if it means not having a casino built on Petaluma’s south edge? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Richard Speel December 28, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Are you serious? Our town doesn't need to be between two casinos! Rohnert Park is close enough. I say give the tribe the water and sewer rights and give us a say in what happens on that land. Remember the mess with Shollenberger Park now.
Concerned Citizen December 28, 2012 at 07:56 PM
It(Casino) doesn't hurt anyone but the people going there? I've not seen such a naive comment in a long, long time. But that's another story....and the residents of Rohnert Park will be all we have to look to when their Casino degrades their city into crime and poverty. As for this story....this whole concept is nothing more than extortion: We'll build a Casino if you DON'T give us access to Tax Payer's Sewer & Water. Bradford, why do you even think the Tribe is dangling this carrot! Because the casino is bad news, and they know it. Now.... Is our infrastructure even capable of handling the impact of a proposed development that includes Rec Fields, Housing, Commercial & Industrial properties on the scale the tribe is considering? And the Enviornmental impact of such a development will be huge. And if the projects are specific for tribal use only (like the Elder Housing), why should tax payers fund anything that isn't accessible to the public? What the Dry Creek band proposes will have significant impacts, regardless of which direction they choose. They used to be the "keeper's" of the land. My, how things have changed.
Sandi Melia December 28, 2012 at 07:59 PM
NO CASINO! Do whatever needs be done NO CASINO, not now or never ever...
Sandi Melia December 28, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Not naive, thoughtless is more like it. Oh boy howdy do! How do some people think? Oh that's right, they don't. Every single day is a new head shaker over the stories & comments in The Petaluma Patch. So much it's making me dizzy! Nothing like a good old fashioned head shaker I say...
Frankie2011 December 28, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Active Thinker December 28, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Are you crazy? Yes to a casino to bring in money for jobs? What kind of jobs do you think they will bring. yes it will get built and some construction jobs and set but on going...it brings more CRIME, people who are gambling and can't stop, drinking...then driving, and yes more crime. A casino is the last thing Petaluma needs. Put it in and people will not move here and more will move away It is so gross what a casino brings...people lose!!!! Do I think Native American's should get some releief yes, but this enough, why don't we give slaves their due justice and Japanese American who where put in camps in California some land too? That way they can build casinos with vegas money...
Lynn King December 29, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I am never in favor of casinos, regardless of where they are built. But what does a city urban growth boundary have to do with the sovereignty of the Indian Nation that owns the property? Don't understand how the city thinks it can take somehow take jurisdiction over property that is owned by the Dry Creek Rancheria to prevent the development of a Casino. And if the Dry Creek Pomos want to build elder housing and sports fields, I say what a good use of their own property (maybe they have plans to actually build the sports facility that we have tried for so long to get the city to build). But the City should certainly ask for a contractually binding guarantee that the extension of sewer services would only be provided for those specific uses.
Eric December 29, 2012 at 02:53 AM
If they are asking for water and sewer for whatever they have planned, perhaps they can't (economically) build anything without the City's water and sewer. If so, then no extension means no building, casino or otherwise. And it's hard not to see the casino as a red herring or just a plain threat.
David Keller December 29, 2012 at 06:22 AM
There is not sufficient water on the land purchased by the tribe for any significant development. They knew it when they bought it. Eric is correct: no water, no significant development. A promise of money to Petaluma or the County is merely a bribe to allow immense development within the 101 corridor that voters of the entire county declared should remain an agricultural corridor and Gateway to Petaluma and the county (Measure M). Voters of Petaluma also mandated Urban Growth Boundaries changeable only by voters. Further, 'the devil is in the details': any agreement between the Tribe, the City and the County would have to be ironclad, and I don't believe that will ever happen. No proposal for water or wastewater treatment services can be evaluated without clear, authoritative, and binding language in local, state, federal and tribal law. There would likely be no independent, transparent oversight of the finances involved, just like Rohnert Park. Any proposal as suggested here and in the Argus article are useless and speculative. What we have is conjecture, particularly absurd since there is no commitment to anything from the Tribe. It is not even clear that the Pomo can claim these lands as ancestral lands, since this area was Miwok turf. I believe that this whole proposal is a very bad idea. I hope the City and County will make absolutely sure there is no casino or major development in this corridor.
Neal Fishman December 29, 2012 at 06:21 PM
David Keller has it right, no water, no sewer, no development of any kind. Development decisions should be based on sound planning principles and the needs of the community, not phony blackmail.
David Keller December 29, 2012 at 06:38 PM
We will also need to make sure that North Marin Water District does not agree to sell water to the Tribe. The large pipeline running south from the Kastania water tank just south of Petaluma carries NMWD's and Marin Municipal Water District's allocations of SCWA water along the 101 right of way. NMWD and MMWD must not be allowed to provide water to this site under any circumstances, for any price.
Ptown December 29, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Why can't the tribe have water under any circumstances Keller? Sounds very bias.
Concerned Citizen December 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Because the Tribe can more than quadruple the development "Density" as it is, and build so much, that our own water supply, sewer system and ecology of that area could be max'ed out, or worse.
Ptown December 29, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I thought all the above was suppose to happen if Target got approved?
Patrick M. December 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Well, if paying the city money for water access amounts to a bribe then I would think they can move forward. It sure seemed to work the other way around when the Petaluma Community Coalition took money from Regency to go away.
David Keller December 30, 2012 at 12:28 AM
The voters of all Sonoma County voted, in 1998's Measure M, to keep the 101 corridor between Marin County and Petaluma as agriculturally-based open space, the "Dairy Belt Community Separator". It is now in the County's General Plan, and can't be changed without voter approval, county-wide. Petaluma voters have twice voted (most recently in 2010) for the Urban Growth Boundary as the legal limit for growth and provision of city services, including water and sewer, so not to expand urban development into surrounding agricultural lands, as have all 9 cities. Provision of water sufficient for growth from Petaluma or NMWD to the tribe's site is a clear violation of the voter's mandate. Any changes must be approved by voters of Petaluma and the entire County. There is currently a lawsuit against the Rohnert Park Casino (FIGR) demanding a court decision on whether or not non-tribal lands can be transferred to tribal interests without the California Legislature's approval, under law about the State's sovereign rights under our constitution. That doesn't even begin to evaluate the inevitable traffic congestion, impacts on the river, air quality, medical, health and emergency services and other 'externalized costs' of a major casino south of Petaluma. Those, under federal and state law, would have to be openly presented and evaluated prior to agreeing to any non-agricultural development on the site. If a casino uses Petaluma's water, it won't be available for us.
Concerned Citizen December 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Target development is already in the " urban boundary"...right? Nice try.
Jennifer December 30, 2012 at 04:09 AM
In order to protect Petaluma from casino operators, Petaluma citizens will have to lead the way to repeal the proposition that allowed casinos to be built in California. Californians voted in a proposition to allow casinos on Indian land. That law has been corrupted to allow casinos to be built anywhere. Don't believe any promises made. The corruption that money commands is inevitable. Wake up Petaluma before you, too, have a casino on your doorstep.
Concerned Citizen December 30, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Bradford.....you are really going to attempt to compare a typical Tribal Casino to Casino 101? That's laughable. Tell you what, if the Tribe agrees to build a Casino no bigger than Casino 101, and only allows the same exact gaming, and NOTHING more......they've got my full support! And posting rude comments like you did Bradford, only proves that the type of people in support of of the Boundry Extention like yourself, are totally incapable of articulating a clear intellegent and respectful conversation. Now you're just Trolling.
Concerned Citizen December 31, 2012 at 10:02 AM
Well....I see you spell as poorly as you get your point across; sloppy! For example, did you really say "yoou a worm" or "I speak my mind and do not care you hears it"? Brad, you're inability to articulate any formative written dialog, by using derogatory comments again, illustrates an ignorance on your part only surpassed by your ineptitude on this, or any other subject of significance. By the way, what is a "winnie"? ROTFLMFAO OK Brad, please remember.....Spell Check is your friend.
Concerned Citizen December 31, 2012 at 08:40 PM
So Brad, is the fact you were tired an excuse for using Vulgarities too? Don't you wonder why your Vulgarities were removed, but nothing I said was? Brad, I didn't attack you, I attacked your biased "opinions" regarding the Casino. You're in Construction Business, so I see why you'd want all the building to go in everywhere. Anyone like yourself who has a potential Financially Vested interest in the Casino (and/or other buildings being proposed), should be not be so overt in their support as it doesn't pass the Smell Test. In addition, there are other Patch member's using the moniker "Concerned Citizen". And by looking at your posting history, I see you were personally attacked by another "Concerned Citizen" on a police story patch ran. Putting your name out there doesn't make your Opinion's better Brad, but it does reflect on you and your business.
Bradford A Morris December 31, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Still not putting your name out there you have a lot to loose don't you your scared I see not man enough to give your name. As far as what I do for a living. My work is very high end and you need me I do not need you LOL Ok no name sorry your afraid to put your name out there. Guess people already know the kind of person you are and you know once they see it is you. You will be the laughing stock in Petaluma again.
Concerned Citizen December 31, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I don't put my "name" out there, because of people exactly like you who become obsessed when they are confronted with opposing views. And if your work is anything like your sentence structure in the above post, fraught with Run-on sentences, missing punctuation, and poorly contrived thoughts , I feel sorry for your clients. Morris Construction will never step foot in any of the properties I own and operate in Petaluma.
David Keller January 03, 2013 at 07:45 AM
Hmmmm. 2nd thought: could the Tribe create a desal plant onsite to use Petaluma River's brackish water? It's only the cost and availability of electricity, impacts to fish and invertabrates, and the disposal of the leftover brine that might hinder their quest for a casino. Hey, what's Las Vegas money worth, anyway?
T.Sprocket January 04, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Patch.. is the question you pose actually a serious one?


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