A Northern California congressman has authored legislation to try to clear the way for the Chumash tribe to turn 1400 acres of land it owns in the Santa Ynez Valley into reservation land.
The property near the intersection of Highways 154, and 246 has been the subject of a firestorm of controversy.
The tribe says it wants to develop housing, and perhaps a museum on the property. But, neighbors fear it could end up being the site of large scale development, possibly including a new casino.
If the tribe gets the fee-to-trust designation, it means Santa Barbara County would have no say over the land’s development, and would no longer get property taxes from it.
Last week, Santa Barbara County Supervisor moved to formally oppose the fee-to-trust designation.
Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa of Richvale authored HR 3313, which was co-sponsored by three Democratic, and two Republican congressman.
It’s part of a dual effort by the tribe to get reservation status for the property. It’s also applied through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.