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Graton casino watchdog group turns focus to other casinos

A group opposing the Graton Casino is turning its attention to other potential casinos in Sonoma County.

With the Graton Resort and Casino scheduled to open Nov. 5, the group Stop Graton Casino is holding a meeting in Petaluma on Wednesday to address the possibility of other tribal casinos around Sonoma County —?and how they can be prevented.

In particular, they'll be discussing a 277-acre parcel of land south of Petaluma at Kastania Road, owned by the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians.

In 2005, the Dry Creek Tribe applied to move its Kastania Road property along Highway 101 into federal trust in an attempt to build a class-three gaming facility on the land. Placing land into federal trust gives tribal governments sovereignty over the land and is often considered a precursor to building a gaming casino.

But after 79 percent of Petaluma voters rejected the idea of gaming at that location in 2006 and the application process stalled, the tribe signed an agreement with the county not to pursue gaming on the property until 2016.

Now that the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria's massive Rohnert Park casino project is close to opening and promises to siphon profits away from Dry Creek's River Rock Casino in Geyserville, county representatives have been actively speaking with Gov. Jerry Brown's office about their desire to keep the Kastania Road site, and several other county parcels owned by Indian tribes, casino-free.

The meeting takes place Oct. 2 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Petaluma Veterans Hall on Petaluma Boulevard South.


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