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Feds clear land-use hurdle to gambling resort, while City Council remains opposed

Plans for a casino-hotel resort in Cloverdale are back on track with an application by the Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians to take land into federal trust and clear the way for gambling.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs sent out formal notice last week of the tribe's trust application for the 65 acres on the southern edge of Cloverdale, adjacent to Highway 101.

"This is a significant step toward gaming," north county Supervisor Mike McGuire said Thursday, adding that he is opposed to the creation of another casino in Sonoma County.

The Cloverdale Rancheria is proposing up to 2,000 slot machines, 45 card tables, a hotel, convention center and entertainment venue.

It would be bigger than River Rock, the casino operated in nearby Geyserville by the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians, but smaller than the 3,000-slot casino resort planned in Rohnert Park by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

"We already see one established casino and another that's on its way and the county has very serious concerns about a third potential gaming facility," McGuire said.

Cloverdale City Council members, who are on record opposing the casino, also expressed concern that it is another step closer to reality.

"This does not blend with what we envision for ourselves and what the history of this city has been," said Councilwoman Carol Russell.

"I just don't see an economic future for Sonoma County, let alone California that has too many casinos," she said. "I've always felt we're in the midst of some casino bubble."

Cloverdale Rancheria tribal leaders could not be reached Thursday and their spokesman declined to comment.

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