The City of Solvang has decided it won’t take a stand on efforts by the Santa Ynez band of Chumash Indians to expand their tribal land holdings.
The City Council last night looked at two efforts by the tribe.
One is a request for the federal government to designate about 1400 acres of land near the intersection of Highways 154, and 246 as tribal land.
It’s controversial, because federal fee-to-trust designation would mean that local agencies would lose control over land use matters related to the property, as well as losing property tax revenue.
The tribe says it wants to use the land for housing, and perhaps a museum, but some residents fear a large casino could end up on the site.
The council decided on a 3 to 2 vote not to take a stand on that application. Santa Barbara County Supervisors are opposing it.
The council is also staying neutral on an already approved designation by the federal government as 12,000 acres of land in the region as historic tribal land.
However, that land is not in the tribe’s ownership, and would have to be purchased for the Chumash to develop it.