Tuesday, March 20, 2017 • Casino holds public hearing for expansion

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, March 20, 2017, edition of the Lassen County Times.

The Diamond Mountain Casino held a public hearing to discuss its new 70-unit hotel expansion from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15.

Casino General Manager Campbell Jamieson led the hearing, which consisted of about 30 minutes of presentation followed by roughly an hour of public comment. Susanville Indian Rancheria’s Environmental Manager Tim Keesey was on hand to answer questions while Dennis Gebhardt of Nevada-Sierra Planners made a brief presentation, mainly dealing with how the expansion would affect the skyline of nearby residents.

Only a handful of residents and business owners were present during the hearing to make any public comments.

Mel Morrison, a neighbor to the casino in the process of building his new home, said the only problem he had with the construction of the casino hotel was that it was going to be four stories high, which was going to effectively block his view. If the expansion was only three stories high, he wouldn’t have any issue at all.

Long time resident Vernon Hague and his wife were also present, with virtually the same complaint as Morrison. They also brought up that while they were aware the casino was going to eventually expand into a hotel, they didn’t realize it would be so soon.

Others in attendance included Susanville Fire Department Chief Stu Ratner and Battalion Chief Ted Friedline, who said they were on hand to see exactly what the casino had planned as far as fire protection.

A few local hotel owners were also on hand to find out about the expansion. One hotel owner was concerned with the economic impact the expansion would bring to the area, while another showed his approval, stating that “business creates more business.”

 Jamieson said after the initial public comment period, it seemed like the majority of the feedback the casino received was positive, with some of the comments made by the public expected.

Jamieson also explained at the hearing the casino was planning on beginning construction in mid-summer and will take roughly nine months to complete.

Community Development Director Bill Nebeker had issue with the traffic study conducted by the casino in 2003, which he said was completely glossed over during the initial presentation.

Nebeker also pointed out the traffic study didn’t take the hotel expansion into consideration. He said there would be an upcoming city council meeting to discuss more issues involving the casino’s expansion.