The Bureau of Indian Affairs placed the 1,390 acres in Santa Ynez known as Camp 4 into federal trust Jan. 23, which will allow the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to begin building homes for its tribal members, the Chumash said.
After several appeals since the Chumash submitted the application in 2013, the BIA finalized the tribe’s fee-to-trust request. The nod from the BIA annexes the land, places it under the tribe’s sovereign territory and removes it from county tax rolls and planning oversight.
The tribe plans to build 143 houses as well as designated open space and vineyards. The $179 million project would have an estimated $80 million to $100 million annual impact, officials said. The Chumash paid $40 million to the late Fess Parker for Camp 4 in 2010.
The land annex was not only important from a symbolical standpoint, Chumash officials said, but vital to the economic sustainability of the tribe’s housing and health care.
Opponents claim that it would diminish Santa Barbara County tax revenues and a lack of county oversight could lead to safety issues and “unchecked” development.
“We are pleased that our Camp 4 land is now in federal trust,” Chairman Kenneth Kahn said in a news release. “Camp 4 is officially part of our reservation so we can begin the process of building homes on the property for tribal members and their families and revitalizing our tribal community.”
In addition to the BIA request, the Chumash pushed HR 1157, known as the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians Land Transfer Act of 2015. Congress stalled the bill, which would’ve also placed the land into federal trust, in December.
The county estimated it would lose up to $311 million in tax revenue over 50 years.
“The return of this ancestral land represents a significant milestone in the tribe’s history and now it is part of the reservation,” Kahn said.
• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]