Tuesday, October 16, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 32

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 8th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 36

San Lucas Ranch applies for second restraining order against county and supervisors over Camp 4


Santa Ynez Valley landowners who filed a lawsuit against the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 24 applied for a second temporary restraining order against the supervisors on Nov. 2.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Donna Geck denied the initial request, filed by San Lucas Ranch, for a temporary restraining order against the supervisors at a hearing on Oct. 26. But San Lucas Ranch, owned by the Crawford family, returned to court two days after the Board of Supervisors approved its memorandum of agreement with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians on Camp 4, in which the Chumash agree to adhere to certain rules and regulations while developing housing on the 1,400-acre parcel of land.

San Lucas Ranch has made various attempts to stop the Chumash from developing Camp 4, which has been at the center of heated debates on land and water use, among other environmental and political concerns, since it was placed in fee-to-trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on Jan. 20, essentially adding it to the tribe's reservation and taking it out of the county's jurisdiction.

But Camp 4 was allegedly once part of the San Lucas Ranch until it was sold off by a deceased family member's children, according to a written declaration in support of a restraining order filed by Anne Crawford-Hall. And in February, Crawford-Hall, San Lucas Ranch, and Holy Cow Performance Horses filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and several individuals within those departments in an effort to overturn to the fee-to-trust acquisition.

Although that case is ongoing, according to court documents, San Lucas Ranch filed another complaint on Oct. 26, which argues that the county's newly approved agreement violates the Santa Ynez Community Plan, enacted in 2009.

"The agreement allows the same development that the county had previously argued was 'incompatible' with the Community Plan and did not mitigate environmental impacts," Barry Cappello, attorney for San Lucas Ranch, said in a press release. "The county can only allow this development if the Community Plan is amended, a process designed to protect the community from these types of agreements. Until then, the county cannot enter the agreement."

The complaint also argues that the proposed Camp 4 development would negatively impact the environment and species San Lucas Ranch owners have fought to protect, including vernal pool fairy shrimp.

The newly filed application for a temporary restraining order would stop the county and its supervisors from taking additional steps to effectuate the terms of the county's agreement with the Chumash on Camp 4.

UPDATE: The second application for a temporary restraining order against Santa Barbara County and its supervisors was denied by Superior Court Judge Donna Geck, according to Barry Cappello, attorney for plaintiff San Lucas Ranch. Cappello contacted the Sun via email on Nov. 7 after press time.

San Lucas Ranch now plans to file with an appellate court in hopes of reversing the decision, Cappello said in the email

The plaintiffs continue to push against the county's "precipitous actions to date" regarding Camp 4, including its agreement with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and support for House Resolution 1491, through federal and state lawsuits, Cappello said.

"Lawsuits will also continue for damages, reversal of action, pursuing an environmental impact report, and federal court claims," Cappello said.

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