Unable to move to Milpitas without San Jose's approval and with a lease set to expire in 2017, Bay 101 owners are trying to convince the city to approve development plans for a new facility.
But Councilman Sam Liccardo says the city should be wary of allowing the casino to add card tables.
"The elephant in the room—but missing from the staff report—is Bay 101 's intention to move to Milpitas," Liccardo writes in a memo going before the City Council this week. "More important than the move is the fact that Bay 10 intends to nearly triple the number of card tables at a proposed Milpitas casino. With much more gaming activity, and without the benefit of experienced regulators at the San Jose Police Department to avoid the well-publicized past problems associated with gaming, we should share concerns about the negative impacts of Milpitas gaming throughout the South Bay."
A state bill that would have allowed the casino to move to Milpitas without San Jose's approval died earlier this month, leaving the cardroom owners scrambling for another option. Bay 101 owners—the Bumb family, which owns the San Jose flea market—have been shopping for a new site since realty group Peery Arrillaga plans to raze the current location in north San Jose to make way for a new office park.
Bumb & Associates submitted an application to the city to relocate the cardroom to a 20-acre site on North First Street, near Casino M8trix, and build two adjacent hotels and shops.
Two options are on the table. The first would relocate the Bay 101 cardroom and ancillary offices to the new site and allow development of two hotels. The second would include 350,000 square feet of office use, a 6,000-square-foot retail building and two hotels with a combined 470 rooms—but no casino.
The Planning Commission voted 6-0-1 (with one absence) to approve the environmental impact report and allow development.
In his memo, Liccardo notes that San Jose voters shot down a measure in 2012 that would have allowed the city's two casinos to expand gambling operations.
"Through a vote of our electorate, we have a city charter that limits the number of cardroom tables in the City of San Jose," he states. "That limitation—which constrains Bay 101 to 49 tables in their card room—reflects the reasonable and understandable desire of the community to limit the criminogenic impacts of gambling in their community."
Unable to find expansion approval at the ballot when 58 percent of voters rejected Measure E, Liccardo continues, the casino owners have changed tack to "one more subtle than a ballot measure ... the end game, however, is the same."
It should be noted that both Liccardo, a candidate for mayor, and his opponent, county Supervisor Dave Cortese, have both come out against card clubs during the campaign.
Councilman Don Rocha said it's unfair to make it so difficult for Bay 101 to move.
"Bay 101 is currently a legal business in San Jose," Rocha writes in a council memo. "If they desire to move their business from one location to another, just as the former Garden City Casino [now Casino M8trix] did a few years ago, I believe we should allow them that opportunity (so long as their new location is appropriate under our land use rules.)"
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for Sept. 23, 2014:
- Instead of approving a new cellphone tower disguised as a pine tree, Liccardo says the city should look into a new technology that integrates miniature base stations into streetlight poles. “We should not approve yesterday’s technology to meet tomorrow’s demands,” he writes in a memo going before the City Council Tuesday.
- Developers want the city to annex some county land so they can build more homes around Communications Hill in south San Jose.
- Councilman Ash Kalra plans to travel to Houston for a transportation conference.
- The city plans to build a new cogeneration facility—which captures heat to produce more electricity—at the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. Replacing the existing one, which is old and prone to malfunction, will cost up to $2.5 million.
- Concerns were raised at a public safety subcommittee meeting about liability issues when deploying San Jose police reserves. Police Chief Larry Esquivel came back with a memo reassuring that volunteer officers are covered by state workers comp laws and pay into individual insurance that offer legal representation if they find themselves the target of an investigation. They do not, however, have rights under the Peace Officers Bill of Rights.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.525.1260