Lytton Band faces local opposition to land development projects

A view of the Lytton Rancheria's land-into-trust site in Sonoma County, California. Photo from Lytton Residential Development Environmental Assessment

The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians defended plans to re-establish its homeland at a crowded meeting in the town of Windsor, California, on Tuesday night.

More than 400 people attended the four-hour plus meeting, The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported. Many, but not all, spoke out against the tribe's plans for housing, a winery and other developments on about 1,300 acres in the county, the paper said.

"This is the biggest hearing we’ve ever had. Bigger than Wal-Mart," town council member Deb Fudge said, the paper reported.

As part of an agreement reached in March, Sonoma County supports the tribe's plans for housing and other projects on about 511 acres. That land is included in H.R.2538, the Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act, a bill that received a favorable hearing on Capitol Hill in June.

Some of that property -- about 124 acres -- is the subject of a land-into-trust application pending at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. County officials believe the tribe will eventually win approval for the acquisition.

"We’re not building high-rise penthouses," Chairwoman Margie Mejia. said at the meeting, the Press-Democrat reported. "We’re not doing anything you wouldn’t be proud to live in."

An additional 800 acres owned by the tribe are not included in H.R.2538. But the county has agreed not to oppose a land-into-trust application for those parcels.

However, the tribe agreed to conduct full environmental reviews if it intends to develop a winery or a resort -- the BIA application for housing only required a less-stringent environmental assessment. Any disputes are subject to mediation and binding arbitration, according to the agreement signed in March.

As part of the deal, the tribe will pay $6.1 million to the county to address one-time impacts. The tribe will also make payments in lieu of property taxes and hotel taxes for 22 years.

Get the Story:
Hundreds pack Windsor Town Council forum on Lytton Rancheria development plans (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 8/26)
Angry Sonoma County residents meet with Supes over tribal land deal (KGO 8/25)
Lytton Rancheria development outside Windsor stokes big land-use dispute (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 8/25)

Committee Notice:
Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1157, H.R. 2386, H.R. 2538 (June 17, 2015)

Related Stories
Lytton Band faces opposition to land-into-trust bill in Congress (07/16)
Lawmakers slam county for poor dealings with Chumash Tribe (06/18)
Witness list for House hearing on tribal and Alaska Native bills (06/17)
House subcommittee sets hearing on tribal and Alaska Native bills (06/15)
Lytton Band plans big developments after reaching agreement (03/11)
Lytton Band enters into land-into-trust agreement with county (03/10)
Lytton Band asks voters to approve utility service to housing site (01/16)
BIA still working on Lytton Band's land-into-trust application (11/07)
Lytton Band offers more to community for land-into-trust bid (11/4)
Lytton Band confident of approval of land-into-trust application (08/06)
Lytton Band donates $1M to bolster land-into-trust application (07/21)
Lytton Band makes $10M deposit in local financial institutions (06/09)
Lytton Band spent over $47M on land acquisitions in two years (12/02)
Lytton Band to pay more than $1M to cover land-into-trust bid (06/27)
Land-into-trust bill in California due for consideration next week (06/14)
County worried about Lytton Band land-into-trust application (07/12)

Join the Conversation