Supes Oppose Chumash Plan

The Board of Supervisors will not support a State Senate bill that could give the Santa Ynez Chumash the option to cancel the Williamson Act status of the land adjacent to the reservation should the tribe purchase it. The Williamson Act was designed to protect agricultural land and open space. City councils and county boards are the only local entities that can cancel a Williamson Act contract, and the cancellation must be done with good reason. Beyond that, owners must wait nine years after canceling a contract to take land out of Williamson Act protection. The bill, Senate Bill 170, is built largely around the needs of the Chumash, who say they are in need of housing and a cultural center but have no room on the reservation. With Santa Ynez to the north, the only place to expand would be to the south, east, and west, said Chumash tribal counsel Sam Cohen, and most adjacent land is protected under the Williamson Act. Joining 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr in opposing the proposal were all supervisors save for the 1st District’s Salud Carbajal. The bill also faces opposition from the California State Association of Counties and will be reviewed next week by the Senate Local Government Committee. “The main issue here for me is the preservation of ag land,” Farr said.

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