The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, a small tribal community consisting of less than 150 members, is seeking to add 1,400 acres of private land currently zoned for agricultural use to their reservation through a process known as fee-to-trust.
This is a blatant attempt to circumvent local and state land use regulations. Including this parcel, known as Camp 4, into their reservation would allow the Tribe to build large, high-density housing, commercial and even industrial developments with no consideration of existing land use plans carefully crafted over many years by local governments and residents – plans with which every other private property owner is required to comply.
The potential adverse financial impacts of converting this private land to trust status are significant. Existing private property owners will see their property values reduced and residents will inevitably pay higher taxes on devalued land to address the potential demands on public infrastructure such as roads and increased law enforcement costs that would result from potentially unchecked Tribal development on the Camp 4 property. It is important to note that the Tribe does not pay property taxes.