August 8, 2011 (Dehesa)--In August 2008, nearly 400 Dehesa Valley residents filed protests with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) opposing Sycuan Casino's application for a liquor license. Over the past three years, community members have monitored traffic, crime and the overall impact of 400,000 casino patrons per month.
Now, like most neighbors, Sycuan and Dehesa Valley residents have put differences aside and found common ground in their hopes for a safe and thriving Dehesa Valley community. Residents have agreed to withdraw their protest of the liquor license application and Sycuan has agreed to fund traffic safety improvements in the community. An ABC hearing to resolve the matter that was scheduled for yesterday has been cancelled.
“We’ve been working closely with them for about the last month. We are proud to have come to a mutual understanding and agreement to move forward and solve some traffic safety concerns,” Adam Day, Assistant Tribal Manager, told East County Magazine. “ Some of the things they discussed having worked on include right turn lane and Dehesa at Harbison Canyon as well as improvements to school bus stops on Dehesa road. Their concerns and our concerns were the same. Our agreement is to fund $300,000 worth of improvements.”
The tribe will make payments to the Dehesa Valley Community Council, which in turn will interact with the County on those projects, he added.
“It seemed like the right thing to do,” said Wally Riggs, whose family has called Dehesa Valley home for more than 68 years. Residents and the Sycuan Tribal Council agree that road safety is a priority for everyone, according to a press release issued by the Dehesa Valley Community Council. “The community and Sycuan wanted to secure some benefit to the residents whose quality of life has been forever changed by the growth of the casino.”
“Working together, Dehesa Valley Community Council and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation can create some lasting road improvements that will benefit all of the Valley’s residents and its visitors,” said Lory Walls a longtime resident of Dehesa Valley and current President of Dehesa Valley Community Council.
“Hopefully, visitors to the valley will not drink and drive and will remember that Dehesa Valley is also home to families, horses, hikers and bicyclists,” said Walls. “We all strive to protect the fragile ecosystem of the valley,” she added.