Santa Barbara County is upset congressional legislation which would clear the way for the Chumash tribe to expand its reservation property in the Santa Ynez Valley has taken a key step forward.
The House Natural Resources Committee approved HR 1157, which would move 1400 acres of land into a federal trust. The legislation now goes to the full house for consideration.
The county issued a statement saying it is disappointed that the legislation is progressing, because it’s currently involved in negotiations with the tribe over the future of the land. If the property owned by the tribe were to receive the designation, it would remove it from the county’s tax rolls, with a substantial loss of revenue, and would open it to development by the tribe without county review or regulation.
County and tribal officials have been meeting for almost a year to try to work out an agreement which would allow the tribe to build housing, and a proposed museum on the land with the county still involved in the process. Tribal officials say they just want to be able to build needed homes for their families.
The 1400 acres of land is just north of the Highway 154-246 intersection.