Camp 4 Legislation Alive Again

The Chumash hope to annex Camp 4 to their reservation in Santa Ynez Valley.

courtesy Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

The Chumash hope to annex Camp 4 to their reservation in Santa Ynez Valley.

Santa Barbara Congressmember Salud Carbajal has joined Rep. Doug LaMalfa of Oroville, CA, to introduce a fourth attempt at legislation that would add Camp 4 to the Chumash reservation, the tribe announced on Wednesday. Creating a larger reservation in the Santa Ynez Valley has been opposed by citizen groups and the county. Initially, concern was expressed over gaming at the new property — the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians operates the Chumash Casino Resort — but gaming has been prohibited in the various bills, including the new one, H.R. 317. Camp 4's 1,400 acres were purchased in 2010 from Fess Parker's estate to build housing for tribal members.

LaMalfa had sponsored three previous bills for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, with the latest, H.R. 1491, dying in the Senate's Committee on Indian Affairs when the 115th Congress ended in December 2018, after passing in the House on a voice vote in 2017. Carbajal's predecessor, Lois Capps, had not supported the successive legislative efforts.

Adding Camp 4 to the Chumash reservation — which has occupied 99 acres along Zanja de Cota Creek since 1901 and is currently 138 acres in size — received final approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 2017, which dismissed the eight administrative appeals filed since hearings began in 2015, according to the legislative history.

The county had been negotiating with the tribe in the meantime, reaching agreements on setbacks from the highway, payments for service impacts, and a dispute resolution procedure. It withdrew its opposition to the BIA approval in 2017 and wrote in support of H.R. 1491. Support was also voiced by senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Passage of the new bill would remove the Williamson Act restrictions on Camp 4, which prohibits any development but agriculture through 2040. It would also "assist in resolving litigation" by Nancy Crawford-Hall of the San Lucas Ranch and Santa Ynez Valley Concerned Citizens, the Senate report states.