The Sad News

The smoke screen evaporated at the March 3rd Chumash – County negotiations. 

The Tribe, after years of insisting their goal is to provide its members 143 houses and a tribal center, unveiled a plan for Camp 4 and the Triangle properties that makes the commercial areas of Solvang look like a pup tent next to a circus big top.

Angrily denouncing the County for not voting to allow the Tribe to annex 2 acres (Escobar and Moody), Chairman Armenta flatly stated the Tribe will go directly to the feds (BIA or Congress) to have all its currently owned properties annexed into the reservation. He said this is not a threat; just fact. 

So in addition to unveiling a new city, it is “fact” the Tribe will circumvent the community to get what it wants. It’s clear they’re growing impatient of toying with us.

At the meeting, the Tribe announced its plan for about 1800 acres of what they currently own; Camp 4, the Triangle and the 6.9 acres. Putting it into perspective their plan encompasses an area twice the size of the City of Buellton and is larger than Carpenteria, a city of 13,000 people. 

Their Proposed Tribal Land Use Map shows:

» Over 200 acres designated as General Commercial along Hwy 246 with a pocket straddling Hwy 154, our State Scenic Corridor.

» A Tribal Government area of about 350 acres.

» About 300 acres of Open Space and Recreation along both sides of Hwy 154.

» About 700 acres designated as Agricultural/Tribal Residential (Any agriculturalist will tell you combining these two incompatible uses is the “death knell” for agriculture in such areas.)

» About 250 acres of Agricultural/Viticulture and Oenology.

There is no definition, nor limitation, on these zones of development. 

What does this mean? 

Will there be a quarter million square feet of “Commercial” buildings?

Does “Recreation” mean RV Parks? A motorcycle dirt track? Golf courses?

What is going to happen on 350 “Government” acres? 

How much more housing will be added later on the “Residential” land?

Stated many times, the Tribe will not limit today what its future generations may choose to do.

Armenta off handedly rejected an idea supported by many. The Valley rallied behind a proposal to address the Tribe’s stated housing need and most of the Tribe’s expansion opponents publically spoke in support of allowing expedited changes to the comprehensive plan and zoning laws so that the Tribe can build 143 houses and commercial areas contiguous to the town of Santa Ynez; a major concession. Armenta blew off this olive branch saying they have no interest because somebody could oppose it. This cavalier rejection shows the Tribe’s intentions are not housing. It also reveals endemic Tribal arrogance with a my-way-or-the-highway mentality.

In addition to a monumental shift in land use, the fiscal impacts to the tax payer will be devastating. Billions of dollars of value will be taken off the tax rolls.

What do the Tax Payers Association and COLAB think about this? The economic argument for Tribal gaming, if extended to the Tribe’s conclusion, will lead Santa Barbara County into fiscal ruin and cause a quantum change in our environment. This will forever damage the primary economic engine of the Valley; its bucolic landscape.

I am saddened at being forced to the reality that so many have realized before me. The Chumash Tribe is intent on building a mega complex for their own use and profit. They state they have the “right” to do this.

My message to the Tribe is in a quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Mike Brady
Los Olivos