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inyo_courthouse.jpgAlthough the Independence area seems unlikely for major development, the Fort Independence Indian Tribe has plans for a hotel and casino. Inyo County has a legal right to address impacts and benefits. The Inyo Planning Director has prepared a letter to the Tribe. The Inyo Supervisors will consider it when they meet Tuesday.

The County’s letter will respond to a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Tribal Environmental Impact Report. Inyo planners say that the first project phase includes an 80,000 square foot gaming floor with up to 800 gaming machines and table games, a 60-room, four-story hotel tower and related facilities. Planners wrote that Phase 2 would include restaurants, and other facilities and amenities. Full build-out would include a conference center, multi-purpose event center and more.

Planners said that the Tribe’s compact with the State requires an environmental investigation of the project and an agreement with Inyo County to address benefits and impacts.

In its proposed letter to the Tribe, Inyo officials note that the hotel-casino project has potential benefits but that an economic analysis is needed. The letter says the project could “significantly impact local services and infrastructure.” The County letter says the Tribe’s EIR should address impacts to County services including health, social services, law enforcement, emergency response, planning, roads and traffic, landfill, transit, and recreation.

The project site is north and west of the Tribe’s existing gas station and mini-mart on Highway 395. The Notice of Preparation mentions environmental effects of land use, population and housing, transportation, air quality and water quality. It does not mention source of water supply for the big project.

In other matters before the Inyo Supervisors Tuesday, Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta will talk about the Inyo Forest Plan update and revision. That’s at 10am. Under departmental, the Planning Department will conduct a workshop on Neighborhood Planning for Healthy Aging. Planners have focused on Lone Pine and have suggestions for better transit, shopping and access to services for the growing elderly population in all of Inyo County. Planners will ask for direction in implementing projects.