Camp 4 agreement includes 'waiver of sovereign immunity'

Sep 22, 2017

Santa Ynez Valley residents are awaiting a public meeting Monday evening about the land parcel known as Camp 4. Santa Barbara county officials will announce a tentative intergovernmental agreement between the Santa Ynez Band of the Chumash Indians and the county. 

Since February, the county’s Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Tribal Matters - comprised of supervisors Joan Hartmann and Das Williams - has been meeting with the tribe in about future development of the 1400-acre Camp 4 property. The property was officially added to the tribe’s reservation land by the federal government in January.

Tribal chairman Kenneth Kahn, in a statement Friday, said the tribe has been committed to working with the county since 2011 to “mitigate tribal housing on Camp 4.”

“Housing on tribal land is vital to preserving tribal culture for the Chumash community through customs, language and tradition,” Kahn said. “A tentative agreement is a welcomed achievement for county and tribal communications.”

Bill Krauch is chair of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition. For years the Coalition has been opposing the tribe’s expansion on the Camp 4 land, partly because now that the land is reservation land, it’s no longer under the jurisdiction of Santa Barbara County. zoning laws.

“The potential development on Camp Four could ultimately alter the character of an agricultural and rural environment if it's developed intensely We just don't know what the future plan is,” Krauch said Friday.

The tribe says it plans to build much-needed housing on its new tribal land. The Santa Ynez Valley Coalition said they are worried about the land being over-developed.

“We do know that there is a housing need which we are sympathetic to and would like to assist in solving that solution but we think it ought to be done in accordance with the community plan that took 10 years in its development,” Krauch said.

County staff say they expect to have a few meetings on the new agreement, but it will be at Monday’s meeting that the key terms of the agreement will be revealed. The meeting takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Saint Marks in the Valley Episcopal Church in Los Olivos. The county has a dedicated website for tribal matters, where the public can find information and submit questions and comments.