Friday, November 16 , 2018, 2:57 am | Fair 48º

 
 
 
 

Local Coalition Targets Impact of Chumash Reservation Expansion Plan

In a press conference, members of the newly created Santa Ynez Valley Coalition made their case for defeating federal legislation that would usurp local land-use planning.

Specifically, the Coalition highlighted the impacts of legislation that will expand the reservation boundary of the Santa Ynez Band of the Chumash Indians to include the 1,400-acre Camp 4 property.

In the current congressional session, the Tribe is lobbying for enactment of HR 1157 legislation that would allow it to build large commercial, high-density housing and even industrial developments on the agriculturally zoned Camp 4 property.

In a March 2016 public meeting with Santa Barbara County officials, the Tribe disclosed initial plans for the Camp 4 property that included massive development on a scale never before seen in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The Tribe has spent over $1 million of lobbying fees and congressional campaign donations over the 2014 and 2016 election cycles to influence the congressional passage of H.R. 1157 legislation according to the Center of Responsive Politics.

“A single special interest is seeking the ability to develop a large parcel of agricultural land in a way that threatens property values and the economic viability of the surrounding area while creating a huge tax burden on all Santa Barbara County citizens,” said Charles “CJ” Jackson of Santa Ynez Valley Concerned Citizens.

Over a 10-year process, Santa Ynez Valley residents debated a land use plan where all community voices were heard. The community approved the plan, voting to keep its rural nature while allowing for growth as outlined by community residents.

In an issue brief distributed at the press conference, the Coalition pointed out that development of this magnitude would create unprecedented demand on public infrastructure such as roads and result in increased law enforcement costs.

Because Tribal land is exempt from paying property taxes, the costs to address these impacts would fall on existing Santa Barbara County property owners.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa the leading congressional proponent of H.R. 1157 does not represent Santa Barbara County. LaMalfa’s congressional district is some 500 miles from Camp 4. Rep. Lois Capps whose 24th Congressional District includes the affected communities has repeatedly opposed the legislation.

The mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition is ensuring that Santa Ynez Valley residents have a voice in land-use decisions affecting water, environment, public safety and economy and opposes fee-to-trust efforts by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

Member organizations include: Santa Ynez Valley Concerned Citizens, No More Slots, the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance, and the Women’s Environmental Watch.

For more about the Coalition go to http://www.SYVCoalition.com.

— Mike Brady for Santa Ynez Valley Coalition.

 

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