Vincent Armenta
Paul Wellman (file)

Confirming rumors that had circulated for some time, the Chumash tribe announced Friday that they purchased a 360-acre property located next to Camp 4. The reportedly $15 million site is just outside Santa Ynez — east of Meadowvale Avenue and west of Highway 154.

Chumash tribal chair Vincent Armenta said the tribe first attempted to purchase the property about eight years ago, but the out-of-country owners were not willing to sell it at the time. Escrow for the property closed last month, and Armenta said the tribe purchased the land from Rancho San Carlos Land Company.

Land located east of Meadowvale Avenue is rural area, and the property is zoned for agriculture use. Single-family dwellings can be built on ag land, and agricultural support buildings, schools, churches, or wineries could be approved on a case-by-case basis, according to county zoning policies.

Armenta said the use of the land would be up to the board, and he was unsure if they would submit a fee-to-trust application to annex the property. “There has been no discussion on that,” he said.

The tribe’s purchase of the property could make Camp 4 — a 1,400-acre property — contiguous to the Chumash Casino. Camp 4 is currently tied up in federal appeals court after the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) granted the tribe’s request to place Camp 4 into federal trust last year. In January, county supervisors — on a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Salud Carbajal and Steve Lavagnino dissenting — decided to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, a congressional bill sponsored by Congressmember Doug LaMalfa (R-CA 1st Dist.) seeks to bypass that federal process. Last month, at a congressional hearing in D.C., Congressmember Don Young (R-AK At-Large), chair of the Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs subcommittee, flatly told county officials to negotiate with the tribe, otherwise he would move the bill forward. Santa Barbara’s county supervisors will discuss that D.C. hearing and next steps in open session at a board meeting on August 25.


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