North Carolina county has passed a resolution opposing the construction of a casino planned by the Catawba Indian Nation in Kings Mountain.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 on Monday against the $273 million casino project underway by the South Carolina Catawba tribe, The Associated Press reports.
A groundbreaking for the project was held in mid-July after seven years of waiting, planning and preparing. Buncombe County commissioners are worried the plans would hurt investment and jobs provided by the Eastern Band of Cherokee’s two casinos in Western North Carolina. However, action by the Buncombe commissioners is not expected to delay the project.
“It’s completely unprecedented and completely politicized,” Cherokee Chief Albert Sneed told commissioners Monday. “There have been unscrupulous developers who will essentially reservation shop to find a tribe that would like to get gaming.”
The Catawba casino site is located on 17 acres of land off Dixon School Road and I-85, near the Gaston County line, but nearly 100 miles away from Buncombe’s county seat in Asheville. The Catawba Nation has said it has a historical claim to the North Carolina land. South Carolina does not allow gambling.
The project has faced push-back from various groups, including other tribes, as reported by Gaston Gazette. Last month’s groundbreaking took place despite a lawsuit from the Eastern Band of the Cherokees seeking to stop them.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has opposed the building for years, and filed a lawsuit to stop the construction. The original suit included an injunction to stop the Catawba Nation from moving forward, which was denied by a federal judge.