Elk Grove Casino CEQA Lawsuit To Be Discussed During Closed Session of Appointment Meeting

February 1, 2017 |   Tomorrow night the Elk Grove City Council is holding its previously scheduled special meeting to appoint a n...

February 1, 2017 |  

Tomorrow night the Elk Grove City Council is holding its previously scheduled special meeting to appoint a new council member to fill the City's Council District 4 vacancy. In an unusual move, the Elk Grove City Clerk amended the agenda and gave notice that it will hold a closed session as part of the meeting.

The notice, which was given yesterday morning, lists the lawsuit filed by Stand Up For California against the city. That lawsuit, case number 34-2016-80002493, was filed in Sacramento Superior Court on November 23, 2016.

The case centers on SUFC's claim that the City of Elk Grove did not study the environmental impacts posed by Wilton Rancheria's proposed $400 million casino on the site of the unfinished shopping center currently known as the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove. The unfinished shopping center is owned by the Howard Hughes Company, who has agreed to sell 35.9-acres of its development to the Wilton Rancheria, who hopes to place the parcel into Federal trust for its casino.   

Filed as a complaint under the California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, the suit claims that the City is improperly using the 2001 environmental impact report (EIR) conducted for the shopping center. The suit says the City used the 2001 EIR so that it could speed the process for development of the casino, which included the removal of the development agreement encumbering the title.

Before the land can be placed in Federal trust, which is required before ground breaking, the parcel must be free of encumbrances such as the development agreement under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 25, U.S.C. 2703(4).   

Removing the development agreement without considering the environmental impacts is a violation of CEQA the complaint contents. Additionally, the suit claims the City illegally recorded the effective date of the ordinance so as to "thwart the right reserved to the voters of Elk Grove in the California Constitution to referend the ordinance approving the Amendment before that ordinance is given effect."   

Thursday night's meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.


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