Making the best land use decisions possible is of foremost concern to our organization. And, if there is one thread running through the community, it is our desire to protect the unique characteristics of our valley – its beauty, tranquility, healthy environment and sense of community. We all want to preserve and enhance agricultural endeavors which enrich our quality of life. The vision of a well planned future for the valley is sustained by the continuous protection of our many unique resources.
Our members can rest assured that, with your help, WE Watch will continue to monitor new development plans, attend and speak at public meetings, work closely with other community groups, and watch for any land use changes to our valley.
Santa Ynez Valley Community Plan Update
The Santa Ynez Valley Community Plan is the foundational document for land use decisions in the Santa Ynez Valley. It is part of the county’s General or Comprehensive Plan and is a legally enforceable document.
The process of updating it began in 2000 when a diverse group of valley residents developed the Valley Blueprint. The Blueprint voiced a desire “to protect the unique qualities and character of the region while maintaining a sound base for economic sustainability of its quality of life.”
This was followed by the Santa Ynez Valley General Planning Advisory Committee (GPAC) whose members were appointed by former Supervisor Gail Marshall. Over the course of nearly two years the GPAC held a total of 32 public meetings to discuss a wide range of issues including:
- Land Use
- Public Services
- Parks, Recreation and Trails
- Biological Resources
- Visual Resources
- Agricultural Tourism and Wineries
- Water, Wastewater, and Flood Hazards
- Circulation and Highways
- Community Design
In August 2004 the Board of Supervisors initiated a draft project description of the SYVCP update. On February 15, 2005 the Board of Supervisors substantially reduced the area covered by the plan.
Early in 2005 Third District Supervisor, Brooks Firestone, appointed a new Valley Planning Advisory Committee (VPAC) to refine and offer alternatives to the previous work of the GPAC. Another series of public meetings was held.
On September 26, 2006 the Board of Supervisors sent the SYVCP update out for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Draft EIR was released for comment in July 2007. The Draft EIR was then revised in response to public comment. The SYVCP and EIR went on to the Planning Commission in May 2009. The Commission conducted five public hearings on the Plan before certifying the EIR and recommending adoption of a revised SYVCP to the Board of Supervisors on July 15, 2009. The Board voted to approve the Plan on October 6, 2009.
WE Watch was very active in this lengthy process. Our members served as part of the Valley Blueprint, GPAC and VPAC committees presenting a perspective in keeping with our Mission Statement and Guiding Principles. (See About Us.) When the Draft EIR was released, WE Watch members reviewed and commented section by section on all the topics including the sufficiency of mitigation measures. Multiple WE Watch Board members were present at each of the Planning Commission hearings and presented both oral and written comments.
The Santa Ynez Valley Community Plan can be found at:
Buellton and Solvang General Plans
The city of Buellton completed a General Plan Update of the Land Use and Circulation Elements with an EIR in 2022.
Solvang City Council established a General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC), which has worked with Mintier-Harnish, Planning Consultants as it developed a community-wide visioning process in 2021. Building on documents evaluated by GPAC, the Planning Commission and Çity Council, the consultants have held workshops open to the community. Work continues on the General Plan with an EIR currently in process.
Visit www.plansolvang.com for more information about the General Plan process.
County, Buellton & Solvang Housing Elements
Housing Elements are 8-year plans (2023-31) within Cities’ and Counties’ General Plans that describe efforts to meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA) for all income levels. This includes addressing how the housing needs of all segments of the community will be met. Sites are identified, including those that may require rezoning, to provide the land needed to meet the RHNA.
Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), using required housing figures from the state and multiple local factors, determines how many housing units will be assigned to each jurisdiction in the County. Those numbers are further divided into Very Low, Low, Moderate and Above Moderate Income Level required units. Neither the County or our two cities submitted their Housing Elements to the CA Department of Housing and Community Development for approval by the Feb. 2022 deadline.
In the County’s Housing Element, 280 housing units are required to be zoned for and built over 8 years in the unincorporated areas of the Santa Ynez Valley. Much larger numbers of units are required for other unincorporated areas of the county and for the larger cities. The County developed objective development/design standards along with work on the Housing Element. It was finally approved by the state’s Housing and Community Development Department and adopted by the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 5, 2023.
Several Builder’s Remedy housing development applications have been submitted in the unincorporated area of the Valley. Builder’s Remedy was included in 1990 state housing legislation and allowed housing applicants to avoid most local zoning requirements if a locality’s Housing Element was non-compliant.
Buellton was assigned 165 units and Solvang, 191 units. Buellton’s Plan was approved by the state and adopted by City Council in August 2023. Solvang’s Housing Element was finally approved by the state and adopted by City Council on Dec. 18, 2023, but not before an applicant had submitted a multi-family apartment development application using state legislation’s Builder’s Remedy.
Visit www.plansolvang.com for more information about Solvang’s General Plan and Housing Element process.
Buellton Land Use Issues
Buellton Affordable Housing Developments
When Buellton became an incorporated city, it reserved sites through its Housing Element for affordable housing. In addition, property owners could choose to develop their other sites for this use. The two most recently approved affordable housing developments now under construction are Polo Village and Buellton Gardens.
Polo Village, 560 Mc Murray Road just north of the Village Townhomes, has begun construction of 49 Very Low Income rental family units. The development will have an on-site manager and varied support services as well as outdoor areas for children and family activities. To make it financially feasible for the developer to build, Buellton contributed $341,491 of its Affordable Housing In Lieu Funds as a loan to be repaid by 55 years and the County authorized a $1.2M HOME program loan.
Buellton Gardens, on McMurray Road just south of the Albertson’s Shopping Center, has begun construction on 89 Very Low, Low and Moderate rental apartments. People’s Self Help Housing is doing this development, which will incorporate elements such as a full-time manager, Learning and Computer Centers, and other amenities for families that will enable successful and enjoyable life experiences in this multi-family housing development.
Village Senior Apartments, between Vineyard Village & Village Park, have been approved for 50 rental units of 50 rental units. All are affordable.
Other multi-use development along Avenue of the Flags which have been approved will include some affordable units: Creekside Village (480 Avenue of the Flags, 64 housing units (10 affordable), The 518 (518 Avenue of the Flags, 48 housing units, 8 affordable units).
This complex Buellton project at the end of Industrial Way, abuts an existing golf course and Santa de Maria residential neighborhood on the east, Zaca Creek along its west side and a mobile home park to the north. Mr. St George submitted this project in 2022, which required a Specific Plan and, after renaming, was granted a time extension in September 2022.
The project has several elements as a work and live site for business and industrial start ups. Housing includes small studio apartments and family condos, recreational facilities for residents and employees, and various kinds of spaces for work.
Rancho de Maria residents have strongly opposed the development. There is concern about various issues, including flooding, access to the Buellton River Trail, housing affordability, emergency access.
It is uncertain if and when this project will reappear.
Buellton Urban Growth Boundary (UGB)
Solvang Land Use Issues
Former Valley developer proposes Alamo Pintado Apartment complex in Solvang
Josh Richman submitted a preliminary SB330 application to Solvang to construct three, 3-story apartment buildings – a total of 109 units -on a hillside at one Solvang’s picturesque gateways. He is the owner of a 5.5 acre parcel of vacant land at the corner of Alamo Pintado Rd and Old Mission, now zoned for two units per acre and known as Site C in the General Plan Housing Element.
The developer is using a 1990, little noticed section of CA Housing law called Builder’s Remedy. It enables developers to “greenlight” housing projects throughout the State that can ignore local design guidelines and compatibility issues. Builder’s Remedy can be invoked if the local authority is late getting its General Plan Housing Element certified by the State, which was the case for Solvang, and most communities in Santa Barbara County, including the County itself. The Builders Remedy limits the City to a total of 5 hearings on the project.
The preliminary application and the City’s response can be viewed at Solvang’s Planning and Building website under Major Projects. The final application is scheduled to be delivered in early April. Then Solvang’s Design Review Committee (DRC), will make limited recommendations to the Planning Commission, which will be responsible for the final decision. That decision may be appealed to the City Council.
Members of the local community are very concerned, as is WE Watch. The public has used the Public Communication period to speak against the project at every Council meeting since the preliminary application was submitted. Comments can be made to the DRC and the Planning Commission during Public Communication, in person or via Zoom, now or when it appears on their agendas. The DRC meets the 3rd Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. and the Planning Commission meets the first Monday at 6:00 p.m. The City Planning website has a Major Projects webpage where you can sign up for updates. Agendas are posted on the website, too.
An on-line petition has been established at https://chng.it/TQ5VKFVMw9. There are at least 2,500 signatures so far and the group seeking signatures is asking for more.
On May 26, 2020 Solvang City Council unveiled Solvang 2.0. It included a conceptual design for a 7+ acre proposed development on the site of the Veterans Memorial Hall and addition of buildings to Solvang Park/parking lot plus longer term ideas for other city owned buildings and parking lots. The Vets Hall site acreage included 2+ acres of the Skytt lumberyard and adjoining house recently purchased by a Santa Barbara rental property owner and developer, Ed St. George. His planner produced the conceptual drawings for the proposed large project.
The project, a Danish appearing district in the Village Area, consisted of three four story buildings – two boutique hotels, with blended use building (shops, restaurants topped by apartments) along Mission Drive (Highway 246). The pedestrians only area included additional blended use buildings and a plaza. In addition there was a Public Administration building and row houses along Maple Avenue, and a parking garage.
The City’s Veteran’s Memorial Building, a 1936 historic structure though it had no historic designation, was to be demolished along with the existing County building housing the Sheriff’s Office, the Solvang Library and the County Supervisor’s office.
When the City Council agenda was released, this project was news to Solvang and other Valley residents. Over the weekend they gathered 1,000 Solvang and 600 other Valley signatures and presented them to City Council on the 26th. WE Watch and residents sent letters. Others spoke at the meeting.
A second version of the project, released on June 27, saved the Vets Hall, but removed the Legion Wing and Vets Room at front of the Vets Hall and provided veterans’ facilities in the blended use building. It modified the Public Administration Building, enlarging what had been only a Cyber Library.
WE Watch gathered Solvang 2.0 comments along with information about visioning and urged City Council to bring residents together via a visioning process rather than continuing with the proposed project. Public opposition continued and in July the City announced that Solvang 2.0 had been put on hold and the City was searching for a professional planning firm to facilitate a community visioning process and General Plan update.
Proposed Hotel Developments in Solvang
In 2020, Mr. St. George proposed mixed income apartment housing with nondescript architecture on the Skytt Lumberyard site at 1783 and 1793 Mission Drive in Solvang, which he owns. It had 5 of 59 apartments designated very low income. He then indicated to City Council that he preferred a plan for a hotel and Council expressed interest in such a development.
With a new City Council in place in 2021, he proposed for conceptual review a traditional Spanish architecture hotel with 86 rooms plus 14 condo style vacation rentals for the 2.14 Acre site. Height would be 48′ plus a 52′ tower, which exceeds the 35′ limit. In April 2022 he submitted a revised plan for preliminary review, which combined a 77 room, Mission style architecture hotel with restaurant and spa plus 45 units of housing, including “affordable by design” micro units. Meanwhile, a .25 acre parcel on Pine Street was added to the 2.19 acres of the former Skytt Lumberyard and adjoining home. That home was to be moved to another site.
In July 2022, the developer submitted a revised project to the Design Review Committee for conceptual review. He reduced the number of buildings and their height to 35 feet. He moved the entrance from Pine Street to the west side of the project. He removed the penthouse, restaurant and spa and moved the pool area to the center of the project. He provided the required parking onsite. Outdoor lighting fixtures were well chosen for the architectural design and fully shielded.
Throughout this process, WE Watch submitted comments. This included asking the Planning Commission for a thorough review of this project, including story poles so it and the community could better understand the height and density of this development. We questioned the proposed height, setbacks and density, lack of required parking on site, location of entrance and exit and requested further refinement of the improved architectural design. We requested that all work together to achieve a superb project for this sensitive, historic area of Solvang.
Since that time another version was submitted removing housing from the project. No further revisions have been submitted.
In the meantime, Mr. St. George received approval for an Italian Deli in the former Union Bank building. WE Watch asked that non-compliant lighting be removed from the building and parking lot, which was done. No remodeling has yet occurred. Also, he leased land at the corner of Alisal and Highway 246 for development of a 9 unit Danish themed boutique cottages hotel with parking elsewhere and tied to the above hotel project. It has since been announced that he has plans for a hotel on the site of the shopping center and Little Mermaid fountain across the above intersection with the statement that since living in the Valley for 3 years he knows what the Valley needs.
In addition, he purchased the office building on the southwest corner of Highway 246 and Alamo Pintado.
Solvang Urban Growth Boundary Initiative
In 2017, WE Watch became concerned about Solvang’s proposal to enlarge the City by about one third and began opposing the encroachment of urban development on prime agricultural land. It supported the formation of Save Our Solvang and its efforts to end the Sphere of Influence Study. It agreed with the use of an Urban Growth Boundary to protect agricultural land for the next 20 years. In September 2019, Save Our Solvang (SOS) gave a presentation to City Council explaining that an urban Growth Boundary requires that residents vote on proposed developments outside the Urban Growth Boundary with few exceptions. Here is a printed version of the Power point presentation: Urban Growth Boundary for Solvang.
In Fall 2019 SOS hired the Environmental Defense Center to assist it with the legal aspects of an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) initiative drive and election campaign. During April 2020, in spite of the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers worked with registered voters to collect 499 valid signatures (more than the required 10% of Solvang’s 3,670 registered voters). On June 8, 2020, City Council voted 4-1 to place the Urban Growth Boundary ordinance in the General Plan. Save Our Solvang became inactive after some voter registration work, but its volunteers continue to watchdog the UGB and related matters through WE Watch.
County Land Use Issues
Agricultural Tourism and the County’s Agricultural Enterprise Ordinance.
WE Watch has been involved with agricultural tourism issues since we sponsored two discussion meetings on Agricultural Tourism in June 2019 and January 2020 with John Parke, 3rd District Planning Commissioner, moderating. After these meetings, Commissioner Parke formed an Advisory Committee with two WE Watch members, Jessica Schley and Kathy Rosenthal, on it. This group was instrumental in bringing ideas generated earlier to the stage where they could be incorporated into an ordinance. County staff had been working on an Agricultural Tiered Permitting Ordinance and a Farmstay Ordinance for some time.
In 2021 staff began working on an Agricultural Enterprise Ordinance (AEO) and its scoping for a Program EIR with the Farmstay ordinance incorporated into it. WE Watch followed development of the Ordinance closely, commenting in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 as work progressed on the ordinance itself and the EIR draft was released.
WE Watch has continually advocated for protection of neighboring residences as well as neighboring agricultural lands and for smaller AEO projects during this exploratory period of implementing the Ordinance. We have supported many of the increasingly specific recommendations of the County’s Agricultural Advisory Committee.
The draft Ordinance states that about 75% of Ordinance uses will occur in the Santa Ynez Valley. The Ordinance is to be designed so these will be ancillary to and supportive of the existing agricultural uses and operations on the participating parcels. It provides opportunities for two types of uses:
A. Rural Recreational Uses – AG II except for #7.
- Small-scale campground
- Educational Experience – Tours, Ag technical training, Workshops & Experiences
- Hunting (already allowed on AG-II under state regulations)
- Horseback riding
- Incidental food service at winery tasting rooms on AG-I & AG II
- Incidental food service elsewhere
- Small-scale events
B.Supplementary Agricultural Uses (does not include winery or cannabis which have separate ordinances)
- Small-scale processing
- Agricultural product preparation
- Farm stand
- Firewood processing & sales
- Lumber processing/milling
- Tree nut hulling
The Ordinance will enable farmers and ranchers to utilize existing uses and pilot small scale projects not previously allowed. Some projects may be exempt from permit requirements or have ministerial permits, eliminating or reducing permit fees. If neighbors experience problems, they will have the right to complain as rural recreation activities are not covered by the “Right to Farm” ordinance.
The Draft EIR addressed 14 topics. In evaluating the draft EIR content, we agreed with the authors’ conclusions that Agricultural, Biological, Cultural & Tribal Resources and Public Services, Utilities, Energy & Recreation would cause insignificant or mitigable impacts from implementing the Ordinance beyond existing agricultural uses and regulations. We had comments about the other 10 resource areas.
For Aesthetic & Visual Resources, our greatest concern was that the SYV Community Plan does not include most AG-II properties so adoption of a strong Countywide Outdoor Lighting Ordinance is critical to protect those areas from light pollution. Fortunately, we are working with staff on this ordinance and we expect it to be adopted in 2024.
Air Quality and Transportation are intertwined throughout the County. Only the ozone level is monitored in the Valley, unlike other areas of the county where monitors test for multiple pollutants. We pointed out that this makes it difficult to assess impacts here. Countywide air quality impacts are already significant and cannot currently be mitigated. We encouraged making safe bicycle paths a priority in the Valley. The report did not address the potential positive impact on air quality of increased EV transportation.
Geology and Soils, Hydrology & Water Quality identified Los Olivos and Janin Acres as having problem soils but there may be problem AG-II areas not addressed in the EIR. We questioned assuming that all projects would have an insignificant impact on soils and groundwater.
Land Use Planning and Noise environmental impacts were listed as insignificant or beneficial, including quality of life for neighbors. We questioned this and recommended that the ordinance and EIR reconsider the environmental impacts, including quality of life, of multiple activities on one farm or ranch and clustering of activities because several nearby farms or ranches are involved in one or more allowed activities. We recommended that on-site parking be required, that permits be required for recreational activities involving more than 50 participants, and that noise controls be strengthened by requiring an end to noise producing activities by 9 p.m. every day of the week. Mechanized trail and road construction has environmental impacts and needs to be included in the EIR.
Wildfire risk is such a serious issue in the Valley that we recommended having in force well-publicized mitigations such as wildfire prevention rules and evacuation plans. E-bikes’ lithium batteries and their potential for fire, often due to overheating, need to be included in the EIR.
Our final comments included the following: “WE Watch is generally supportive of the proposed Agricultural Enterprise Ordinance. We know that the quality life we enjoy in the Santa Ynez Valley is dependent on the retention of agriculture. It has the potential to provide expansion of agriculture’s income stream, education of the public about agriculture and the natural world, and many enjoyable experiences for participants. At the same time it can help protect the land, its open space vistas and the agricultural livelihood of those who farm and ranch.
Helping agriculture remain viable can be part of environmental protection if we end up with an ordinance that has an environmentally healthy balance of freedom to experiment and land use regulation.”
County Master Recreation Plan
County 2030 Climate Action Plan
The 2030 Action Plan is a much more focused, action and regulation driven instrument than the 2015 Plan was. Interdepartmental staff time has been devoted to developing and then implementing it. It has five major aspects, each of which has specific, measurable goals.
- Reduce community emissions 50% by 2030.
- Increase access, safety & comfort for walking & biking.(Active Transportation)
- Increase opportunities for accessible & affordable housing (Housing Element).
- Adapt & prepare for climate change impacts (Safety Element/Climate Change Adaptation).
- Increase quality of life & address environmental inequities (Environmental Justice Element)
For more information visit sbcountycap.konveio.com
More County Issues
County Cannabis Ordinance,
Santa Ynez Valley: Obtaining Regulations Needed to Coexist with Cannabis
Since WE Watch became involved with cannabis regulation in December 2018 by asking the Board of Supervisors for help in controlling cannabis in the Santa Ynez Valley, its goal has been to help the Valley obtain needed regulations so that residents, tourists, and other agriculture (including the wine industry) can coexist with cannabis cultivation.
Following legalization of cannabis by California Voters in November 2016, the State and then County government began developing cannabis regulations for many aspects of cannabis activities. For a period of time, the state issued temporary and then provisional licenses while waiting for counties to develop complementary regulations..
The County Inland Land Use Ordinance was approved by the Board of Supervisors on February 27, 2018 and the County Commercial Business Licensing Ordinance was approved on March 19, 2019. The Carpinteria Valley, Cebada and Tepusquet Canyon areas were impacted by significant cannabis cultivation and so began confronting the County about their problems before these ordinances were adopted. However, the Santa Ynez Valley was not yet impacted so WE Watch and residents were “asleep” during deliberations on the Land Use Ordinance..
On Jan. 29, 2019, at the Board of Supervisors meeting, a standing room only crowd of residents, including vintners plus cannabis growers, filled the Santa Barbara Board’s Hearing Room for 4 hours (70 speakers, including WE Watch) with hearing and Board deliberations for 4 hours. The Board did vote to begin the process of revising the Cannabis Ordinance and by July 9, 2019 had amended the Inland Land Use to provide additional regulation, supported by WE Watch, as follows:
- Ban cannabis cultivation on AG-1-5 and AG-1-10 parcels (5 & 10 acres) of 20 acres or less.
- A limit on total acreage in cultivation in the County of 1,755 acres.
- The Business License Ordinance was amended to:
- Not allow cannabis testing firms to locate on agricultural lands
- Prequalify 8 applicants for storefront retail, and randomly select 1 for each of the 6 Community Plan Areas plus 2 more for sites not covered by Community Plans. (Subsequently the selection process has been pulled for further revision.)
Increase staff’s authority to reject renewals by changing language from “may” deny to “shall”
• Not allow generators for security lighting and cameras.
- In addition 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann asked and got support from the other members to have the staff research:
No cannabis cultivation on AG-1-20 parcels (20-39 acres)
• Expand notification requirements
• Solutions for odor problems
• Parcel limitations (e.g. limits on size of grow).
• Buffers for cities, townships and EDRNs. (Existing Developed Rural Neighborhoods
A WE Watch sponsored 1/17/19 meeting on Cannabis Regulation by County staff provided more than 200 Valley and other County residents with needed information. WE Watch then sponsored the first ever countywide, face-to-face meeting of representatives from regions experiencing cannabis problems (Carpinteria Valley, Cebada and Tepusquet Canyons, Cuyama Valley, Valley neighborhoods where applications were filed ). Eventually a countywide Coalition for Responsible Cannabis formed. WE Watch did not join but cooperated with it. In March 2019, WE Watch coordinated a discussion with interested diverse stakeholders for John Parke, 3rd District Planning Commissioner attended by about 50 people.
WE Watch consistently wrote letters and spoke at both County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings asking for the following actions to protect the Santa Ynez Valley through amendments to the Inland Cannabis Land Use Ordinance and the Business License Ordinance.:
- Ban on cannabis activities on AG-1 lots less than 20 acres (approved).
- Cap on total cannabis acreage in the County (approved).
- Odor control (processing must be indoors and odor controlled, with exception of freezing.
- Ban cannabis activities in EDRNs.
- Outdoor manufacturing prohibited. (approved)
- Use CUPs or a more nuanced similar tool on larger parcels to protect residences, wineries and tasting rooms, agricultural crops. (approved AG-II cultivation areas cumulatively exceeding 51% of gross lot area requires CUP) (minimal, more needed,
- Cap on cultivation acreage on individual larger parcels (no action)
- One mile buffer around cities and townships (no action)
- Public involvement in the retail selection process (approved)
- Merit based application selection process (approved)
The County used consultants to help CEO, Controller-Auditor and Treasurer – Tax Collector staff get a handle on the complicated cannabis taxes. The board of Supervisors considered changes to the cannabis taxes in 2023.
In March 2022 the board of Supervisors removed cannabis processing from the acreage cap in an effort to encourage more in-county processing. Our 3rd District Supervisor voted “No.” WE Watch questioned taking this action without any reviw of its impacts on agriculture and residents. In May 2022 the Board of Supervisors approved requiring Conditional Use Permits for all new applications on August 16, 2022.
The Farmacy, using the former Star Drug site on Madera, was chosen as the one retail cannabis outlet in the Santa Ynez Valley. It obtained a land use permit in December 2021 and opened in January 2023.
Lack of odor control for outdoor cultivation, indoor cultivation and processing on larger AG-I parcels and AG-II parcels is the big remaining problem. Odor problems can only increase for Buellton and are already severe for a month or longer two or three times a year. WE Watch continues to work with our 3rd District Supervisor and Planning Commissioner for a solution to this problem.
Carbon Farming [Carbon Farming on the Chamberlin Ranch, report by Penny Knowles]
Chumash Fee to Trust Land Annexation
Fee-to-trust is a process established by the Federal government to allow recognized Indian tribes to increase the size of their reservations by removing land from the county and state and placing it within the trust. This originated to allow Indians the means to survive economically. Any lands within the trust are exempt from state and local taxes and regulations including zoning.
Such transfers affect the local community because once land is in the “trust” it is no longer under the jurisdiction of the County. Land that is part of the Chumash reservation becomes part of this sovereign nation. Local zoning and other regulations no longer apply and no property or state taxes are levied on reservation land.
Camp 4: In 2010 the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians purchased 1400 acres, known as Camp 4, from the estate of the late Fess Parker. Not contiguous to the Chumash reservation, this land is located at the northeast corner of 154/246. An application was made to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior to annex Camp 4 to the reservation through fee to trust. Such a transfer would increase the size of the reservation ten-fold. This application was appealed by several individuals and organizations in the Valley.
In 2016 and again in 2017, Congressman LaMalfa, who lives 500 miles away from the Santa Ynez Valley, introduced legislation to insure the annexation of these lands to the Chumash. The 2019 bill, AB 1491, was approved by the House and sent to the Senate. On December 20, 2019 The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 became law. It contained the provision to place Camp 4’s 1,427 acres into the Chumash Reservation . The Chumash have not yet announced more detailed plans for developing tribal housing and a tribal center for its members on this land.