Gilroy is initiating a forum for regional leaders to address two
hot topics: a proposed Indian casino in San Benito County and the
potential development of Sargent Ranch.
Gilroy is initiating a forum for regional leaders to address two hot topics: a proposed Indian casino in San Benito County and the potential development of Sargent Ranch.
The Gilroy City Council, Mayor Al Pinheiro and City Manager Jay Baksa are inviting city councils, mayors and city managers from nearby jurisdictions to talk about the possible impacts the two developments might have on the region.
The California Valley Miwok tribe is working with about two dozen investors to build a casino in San Benito County just south of Gilroy. The five-member tribe is federally recognized as a landless tribe, thus making them eligible to negotiate with federal and state governments about establishing sovereign land.
The casino could be built without following local planning ordinances.
In a separate deal, Sargent Ranch owner Wayne Pierce has an agreement with a band of the Amah Mutsun tribe to develop 3,500 acres of the 6,500-acre ranch. Pierce would lease 500 acres to the tribe for its members’ homes, businesses and a cultural center, then develop his 3,000 acres.
The development hinges on whether the Amah Mutsun band receives federal recognition, which could take several years. If the tribe receives federal recognition, it also could develop its tribal land free of local planning ordinances.
Exploring certain federal and state legal issues is another reason for the meeting, which Baksa said will take place Oct. 27.
City Clerk Rhonda Pellin said County Supervisor Don Gage, Morgan Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy, San Juan Bautista Mayor George Rowe Jr. have already said they’d attend.