Sonoma County officials say the impacts of a tribal housing project in Windsor are being downplayed and the number of homes is too high for the rural area.
The housing and cultural center proposed by the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians is on the Board of Supervisors' agenda today for discussion.
County officials say the Final Environmental Assessment on the 124-acre project on Windsor's southwest border is inadequate in a number of areas. Those include impacts to oak woodlands, law enforcement and fire services.
The county counsel's office has drafted comments in an 18-page letter urging the Bureau of Indian Affairs to require a much more detailed "Environmental Impact Study" for the project.
Supervisors are being asked to authorize those comments at their meeting, sometime after 10 a.m. today.
The Lytton Band of Pomo, which runs the San Pablo Casino in the East Bay, has steadily been acquiring property along Windsor River Road for almost a decade.
The tribe has applied to place the property into federal trust as Indian land, which would no longer subject it to county and state regulations.
The Lytton Pomos say they want to build up to 95 single-family, detached homes, 24 cottages and 28 high-density units for its members. A tribal community center retreat and roundhouse are also planned.
Doug Elmets, a spokesman for the tribe insists there are no plans for a casino.
He said Monday the tribe does not see a need for a more detailed environmental study being sought by the county and others.
"The tribe has commissioned a very comprehensive Environmental Assessment that addresses all the relevant issues for the master-planned community," he said.
But county officials disagree and say the current document fails to fully address many impacts. In particular, they cite the removal of more than 1,700 native oak trees which would "substantially fragment ecosystem services and habitat values," despite the tribe's intent to replace many of the trees.
County officials also say more detailed study is needed on the impact to public services, such as police and fire response times.
County officials note that on one parcel, the tribe wants to build 94 dwelling units, more than nine times what would be allowed under the county general plan.