San Jacinto residents are concerned about a HUGE expansion project proposed for their neighborhood by the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians. The proposed 729,500-square-foot complex would include a 300-room hotel. (Big box Wal-Mart stores are in the 200,000 square-foot range!)
Since August 2009, tribal consultants have been working to finalize an environmental impact. Beginning this month, the application package will be reviewed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the tribal representatives told the councilmen. One more public hearing will be scheduled at a later date.
"I want the tribe to prosper, I want the residents to prosper," said Miller, but the city also needs to look at "how it is going to impact residents' lives" and how impacts can be mitigated.
Members of the Save Our Communities group earlier this year gave the council binders detailing their concerns.
Soboba Springs resident Patty Mayne said the council should seek more input from the public before finalizing a city position. "They should not be making any decisions or doing any mitigations with the tribe" before environment review is finished, she said.
"It's our intent to say we can work this out," said group member Tish Arciniega, by moving development to another reservation location. "Putting the project where it's currently proposed ... is going to be a hardship for a lot of people"
The tribe wants to annex land it owns along Soboba Road near Lake Park Drive to the reservation and replace an existing casino with the new resort.
If the site becomes part of the reservation, residents of three Soboba Springs neighborhoods would have to travel through the reservation to get to their homes.a
The former tribal chairman of the Soboba Band, Robert Salgado was convicted of accepting bribes and tax evasion last year.