Congress Fails To Act On Proposal To Designate Santa Ynez Valley Land As Reservation Land

Dec 16, 2016

An effort by the Chumash tribe to fast track its efforts for a major expansion of its tribal reservation lands has failed in Congress.

The tribe is hoping to have 1400 acres of land it purchased in the Santa Ynez Valley known as Camp 4 placed into a federal trust, like its current reservation land. Tribal leaders want to build homes for their members on the land, which is near Highways 154 and 246. Once in the trust, the land isn’t subject to Santa Barbara County’s land use regulations, an exemption that’s been an issue for the county, and for some neighbors. The land would also be exempt from county property taxes.

The proposal is going through the federal review process. But, Congress can also make the designation. Some members of Congress from outside of the Central and South Coasts sponsored the legislation, but the congressional session ended without action on the proposal.

The tribe and the county have held a series of meetings over the last two years to try to reach a compromise.