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Troubled clinic’s plan reviewed

An American Indian medical group based in Auburn will ask permission on Tuesday to build new offices at the corner of Sierra College Drive and East Main Street in Grass Valley.

The city Planning Commission will review Chapa-De Indian Health Program Inc.’s plans to build a 42,336-square-foot building on 12.1 acres.

Access would be from a roundabout on Sierra College Drive, a city report says.



Formed in 1976, Chapa-De opened a satellite clinic on East Main Street in 1988.

Chapa-De representatives have repeatedly said the immediate plan is to not build near the intersection of Sierra College Drive and East Main Street.




But some have questioned Chapa-De’s real intentions.

In a letter dated Aug. 8, Jane Zerbi, an attorney with Dickstein & Merin of Sacramento, a firm that represents Chapa-De, said her client has no intention of building a casino on the property.

Chapa-De operates under the Rumsey Indian Rancheria, a federally recognized tribe based in Yolo County.

The Chapa-De group is not considered a federally recognized ‘tribe,” and the land where the facility is to be built is not “Indian Land” under federal law, Zerbi’s letter said.

Mark Merin, another Chapa-De attorney, on Friday called any suggestions Chapa-De might build a casino “ludicrous.”

Two years ago, the Teamsters union filed a complaint alleging illegal labor practices against Chapa-De before the National Labor Relations Board. That case is still in litigation.

Dr. Sara Richey, a Grass Valley-based physician, was one of the workers listed in the complaint.

Richey on Friday said she will oppose Chapa-De’s plans to build a new facility. She questioned its labor practices and the reasons why the group needs such a large facility.

Chapa-De Executive Director Carol Ervin could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Grass Valley Planning Commission, regular meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, 125 E. Main St.

INFO: 274-4330


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