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Santa Barbara Supervisors Continue Proposed Camp 4 Agreement to Special Meeting

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will wait until month's end to make a decision on the proposed land-use agreement for the Chumash Tribe's Camp 4 parcel in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley.

On Tuesday, the supervisors voted unanimously to hold a special meeting on Oct. 31 to discuss and possibly adopt the agreement between the county and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians for development of the Camp 4 property.

Supervisors Joan Hartmann and Das Williams, and Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn sit on a Santa Barbara County ad-hoc committee that announced in late September a tentative agreement had been reached for development of the property. 

The agreement calls for 143 one-acre residential lots developed on 194 acres, with 869 acres of open space and 206 acres of agriculture. Seventy-five percent of the single-family homes would be single-story.

It also allows the tribe to build housing on the property that sits near Highways 154 and 246 and a tribal hall on the land, holding up to 100 events annually. 

No gaming is to be allowed on Camp 4 land.

As part of the agreement, the county has said it will drop a federal lawsuit it filed earlier this year in response to the tribe moving to have the nearly 1,400-acre parcel placed in federal trust.

County and tribal leaders have discussed the proposed agreement in a series of public meetings, and the Board of Supervisors and Tribal Council have the final say. 

Hartmann has repeatedly said without such an agreement with the tribe the county will have no say over what happens to the property.

Dozens of people attended the previous public meetings on the issue, but only two spoke at Tuesday's meeting. 

During public comment, Santa Ynez resident Alex Jones accused Williams of having a conflict of interest in the matter since he has accepted campaign contributions from the tribe and a $18,000 donation after being elected to the Board of Supervisors. 

"There are a ton of elephants in the room in regards to this Camp 4 proposed agreement that's going on between the Chumash and this board," Jones said.

Some Santa Ynez Valley residents, including Jones, have said Williams should recuse himself from Camp 4 hearings because of the contributions, which they believe have tainted negotiations.

Williams has said during past meetings he has no plans on stepping down, and during Tuesday's meeting he defended taking the donations, saying everything was public record that could be looked up if people want to see how the money had been spent, and that he had broken no laws.

He also said the $18,000 contribution was spent most recently helping establish the Community Services District in Isla Vista.

"Isla Vista, I don't want to more kids getting hurt out there," Williams said. "What has been identified by the community and board of trustees was that the way to reduce the amount of people being raped and dying out there is to establish a local government to be able to improve public safety resources. So, yes, would I take contributions from the Chumash to use on a cause like that? Absolutely."

Noozhawk contributing writer April Charlton can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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