(Santa Ynez, Calif) In the closing hours of the previous Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) took administrative action to allow the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Tribe to expand their reservation to include the 1,400-acre agricultural preserve known as Camp 4.
Below is a statement from the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition regarding this recent development:
Recent news reports that the Chumash Tribe “is cleared to build on ‘Camp 4’ land” are premature and false. On the last day of the eight-year Obama Administration, the acting Deputy Secretary of Interior approved the Chumash’s fee-to-trust application for Camp 4 property, extinguishing the administrative appeals of community organizations and individuals. That action is still subject to legal challenge. In fact, Santa Barbara County has already filed suit in federal court.
The Santa Ynez Valley Coalition remains steadfastly opposed to “fee-to-trust” for the Camp 4 property, and are committed to fighting it at every step. We are confident that this last-minute, backroom political deal will not prevail. If this action were to stand, it would allow the Chumash, despite their statements to the contrary, to build another Casino or commercial development without complying with existing land use plans. Development of the Camp 4 agricultural preserve in this manner would impact the property values of existing residents and businesses and burden taxpayers with higher taxes to meet the infrastructure demand of potential development that would occur.
All we are asking is that the Chumash join with us as neighbors to work together to develop a solution to address their need for housing and a community center while protecting the economy, environment, and water resources of the Santa Ynez Valley. What the community is asking of the Tribe is expected of every other property owner.
We will endeavor to keep the community apprised of our steps in the future as we stand up for the Santa Ynez Valley. This is not a done deal.
The mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition is ensuring that Santa Ynez Valley residents have a voice in land use decisions affecting our water, environment, public safety, and economy and opposes “Fee to Trust” efforts by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
Member organizations comprising the coalition represent the views of thousands of Santa Ynez Valley residents and include Santa Ynez Valley Concerned Citizens, No More Slots, the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance, and the Women’s Environmental Watch.