Danville Moves Forward with Caesars Casino Zoning Reforms

The City Council of the Virginia City of Danville on Tuesday approved the addition of a casino entertainment zoning district to allow for the development of a planned $400 million Caesars casino resort at the former site of the Dan River Mills industrial complex in Schoolfield.

City officials had to amend Chapter 41 of the Danville City Code to include the new district. Article 3.V of the City Code now outlines the purpose of the zoning district, permitted uses, uses that are allowed under special use permits, requirements for the lot size, bulk regulations as well as parking, exterior lighting, sign, noise, landscape, and open space requirements, among others.

For example, the casino entertainment district must occupy an area of at least 75 acres, with the minimum lot area being 25 acres.

The maximum building height allowed is 250 feet under the rules and regulations approved by city officials earlier this week. Buildings taller than 200 feet must be set back from non-building structures that are taller than 200 feet by at least 100 feet.

Buildings that would be part of the district and are under 200 feet tall must be set back from the above-described non-building structures by at least 50 feet.

The Danville City Council last summer selected Caesars Entertainment, Inc. as the preferred developer of the city’s proposed Las Vegas-style casino resort. Residents, who had the final say on the project, approved it in a citywide referendum held last November.

What’s Next for the Project?

Caesars officials were present at the Tuesday meeting of the City Council and said they were delighted by the war welcome Danville has offered them and thanked them for picking the company to build and operate the future casino resort.

Robert Livingston, Senior Vice President at the casino and hospitality operator, said that the company has entered the conceptual design phase for its future Caesars Virginia resort. Hopes are that they will finish the permitting process in November and break ground on the complex in December.

Mr. Livingston further told the City Council that hiring for Caesars Virginia is expected to start in the final quarter of 2022. Construction is projected to be complete in the second or third quarter of 2023 and the resort’s opening is anticipated to take place in the third or fourth quarter of 2023.

The complex will feature a casino with 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, 16 poker tables, and a sportsbook, a hotel with 300 luxury rooms, a 35,000-square-foot conference center, a 2,500-seat live entertainment venue, a pool, and a spa, among other amenities.

Caesars says that its property will generate 900 construction jobs and 1,300 full-time ones once fully operational.

Some of the other requirements that officials included in the City Code and that Caesars will have to meet include a 70-decibel limit on outside noise every day between 9am and midnight, and a 50-decibel limit from midnight to 9am. In addition, the company will have to make sure to provide a 25-foot landscaped buffer along the property line abutting surrounding residential districts.

The Danville Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing on the Schoolfield site rezoning on June 7. The commission is then likely to send a recommendation to the City Council. City leaders will then hold a public hearing on the planned rezoning and likely enforce it on July 6.

Source: Danville City Council approves creation of casino district, Chatham Star-Tribune, May 5, 2021

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