April 1 2016
Really the blame for this Indian expansion into Camp 4, 1400 new acres in Santa Ynez Valley is partially on the county and intrenched attitudes of no growth. If Fess Parker had been allowed to adequately develop his land to create value, jobs and wealth, he wouldn’t of sold it to the Tribe. Or if another landowner had bought Fess’ land and just sat on it, wasting time and trying up investment money for perhaps ever waiting for permits…well that didn’t happen either. The Tribe on the other hand knew they could buy Camp 4 at a low price because it was land that only the they could develop. Good strategy.
Thing is the Tribe can’t be stopped because they send some $100million/year in gambling taxes to Sacramento, and the Feds are completely onboard with the notion of reparations, especially from wealthy ranching communities.
What the county can control is access to the Casino. Obviously water is piped into the Tribes casino, waste and trash is sent out across county land and processed in county facilities. It’s simple enough for county to charge 7X the normal rates on every utility provided the Tribe, as a burden on county resources. Electricity, water and gas is shipped in across hundreds of miles of lines and pipes, none of which are on Tribal lands. The Tribe is completely supported and at the mercy of receiving these utilities and services. A good neighbor policy would help the Tribe avoid this situation.
But for the rest of us non tribe members, we can’t buy land and place it into casino/hotel/nightclub operation, with no permitting process and no property taxes. The Tribe has a sweet deal, noting their newly retired chief receives $50,000 a month just for breathing.
Now it’s time for Santa Ynez to face reality and fight fire with fire. This would involve the following.
1) Buy up all land around the present casino and all properties surrounding Camp 4. Change the zoning on these lots to allow nearly unlimited development.
2) Surround the Casino on all side with new high-rise hotels, office, high tech hub, restaurants and parking lots.
3) Surround the Camp 4 property on all sides with hotels, waterparks, a motocross track, a dragster strip and maybe a Refinery.
4) County will argue it needs additional tax revenues to meet the burden placed on County taxpayers by Indian Gaming and thus has a complete right to rezone and build up to meet these needs.
The Tribe will argue that these land uses are not in keeping with the bucolic and tranquil nature of the Santa Ynez Valley, and that a drag race track, motocross and refinery are a burden upon their right to quiet enjoyment of their land. Well then, this puts the moccasin on the other foot.. Welcome neighbor.