As promised by members of a county ad hoc subcommittee, the full text of a proposed agreement with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians addressing issues surrounding the Camp 4 property has been posted on the committee’s website.
Other documents relating to the federal government taking the 1,400-acre site into trust for the tribe also were posted.
Those include the letter asking the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 3 to set a public hearing for Oct. 17 to consider approving the memorandum of agreement and the full text of House Resolution 1491, which would reaffirm the Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to take the land into trust.
Also posted on the site are the mitigation monitoring and enforcement program for the development of the Camp 4 property and the draft of a Chumash resolution regarding approval of the agreement with the county.
Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann and 1st District Supervisor Das Williams, who make up the Board of Supervisors Ad Hoc Subcommittee Regarding Santa Ynez Valley Band of Chumash Indian Matters, pledged to post the documents at an informational meeting Sept. 26 in Los Olivos.
Public speakers at that meeting were critical of the process the subcommittee used to reach the agreement as well as set up the informational meeting, the presentation of a summary of terms rather than the complete text of the agreement, the lack of other supporting documents and the short period of time residents would have to review the proposed agreement.
In response, Hartmann and Williams pledged to post that material on the subcommittee website before the end of the week. The documents were posted Thursday.
At issue is the property called Camp 4 along Highway 154 that the Chumash purchased in 2010 with the intention of developing housing for current and future tribe members, along with a community center and other miscellaneous support buildings.
Two years later, the tribe initiated the process of having the federal government take the land into trust for the tribe, which would make the land exempt from local and state development regulation and oversight.
It also would essentially pull the property off the tax rolls, causing a significant loss in revenue for the county, which would still have to provide a certain level of such services as police and fire protection.
That prompted the county to form the ad hoc subcommittee to work out an agreement with the tribe to address some of those concerns.
Both sides said some progress was made in a series of public meetings, but the negotiations stalled until after the November 2016 election, when the makeup of the subcommittee changed and supervisors directed Hartmann, Williams and staff to meet with Chumash representatives in closed-door meetings.
The proposed agreement was hammered out in a series of nine such meetings since February, according to the subcommittee members.
Terms of agreement
Terms of the memorandum include the tribe’s waiver of sovereign immunity, one of the main sticking points for the county.
The tribe will agree to waive its sovereign immunity to lawsuits, judgments and enforcement of such involving the agreement, although that won’t apply to individuals or third parties.
If disputes arise, the county and tribe will try to work them out between themselves, but if no resolution can be reached, the matter can be referred to the courts.
In return, the county will dismiss its pending federal litigation over the fee-to-trust issue and will support HR 1491 with amendments.
The tribe will keep the land under the Williamson Act provisions, which gives tax credits to property owners whose land is used for agriculture, until the contract on the Camp 4 property expires Dec. 31, 2030.
To mitigate the loss of tax revenues, the tribe will pay flat annual fees of $178,500, which will offset most of the cost of county services.
Payments would begin when the Williamson Act contract expires or, if the contract ends prior to Dec. 31, 2030, after the first home is built on the site. Payments would continue until the memorandum expires on Dec. 31, 2040.
The payments may qualify as credits due under the State-Tribal Compact, and the county will support the tribe getting those credits.
The county will have no permitting authority over development of the land, but the tribe agrees to meet certain standards, including not developing any buildings or solar energy projects within 985 feet of Highway 154, and all mitigation measures identified in the environmental assessment will be implemented.
In addition, the Chumash agree to use California Building Code and Public Safety Code requirements when developing the site, with licensed architects, engineers or qualified project inspectors to monitor the construction.
Construction must follow Green Building Guidelines and indoor plumbing must use the highest-efficiency fixtures available.
The tribe agrees to no increase in water use during drought conditions and may only increase use by 4 acre-feet. A tertiary wastewater treatment plan will be used to allow use of recycled water.
Native and drought-tolerant species will be emphasized, and less landscaping will be used on 1-acre lots than on 5-acre lots, with recycled water used to irrigate landscaping and vineyards as well as for plumbing in tribal buildings.
Vineyard space will be reduced by 50 acres, with water use subsequently reduced by 50 acre-feet.
The site plan known as Alternative B will be used for development of the site.