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Tribe wants to put 29 acres into trust


July 10, 2013
The Valley Center Planning Group Monday night discussed San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians' application to put 29 acres off North Lake Wohlford Road near Woods Valley Road into a federal trust, i.e. make it reservation land.

The tribe proposes to build tribal offices, a medical clinic, a fire station, and a sports complex including a pool.

The county (and also the planning group because it is advisory to the county) is being asked for comments on the proposal, although the Bureau of Indian Affairs will make the actual decision, which is part of the Department of the Interior. The county has no actual say in whether the sovereign tribe is allowed to put more land into its reservation, however Oliver Smith, chairman of the planning group, said it is important for the group to make its concerns known.

"Even though it may seem like we are generating documentation just to generate documentation I think it is important that we do it well enough so that those who read it can act on it," said Smith.

Smith explained that there are two kinds of land owned by an Indian tribe. The first is land owned by the tribe, but not sovereign reservation land. Tribes can own land just as individuals can, and it remains under county and state jurisdiction. The second kind is land put into trust by the federal government as fee to trust land. It is exempt from state and county taxes and regulations. The latter is what the San Pasqual tribe hopes to do with the 29 acres that it purchased several years ago.

The planning group reviewed the recommendation by the planning group's Tribal Liaison subcommittee, which looked at the tribe's fee to trust application, which was sent to the BIA in April.

At its June meeting members of the Tribal Liaison SC discussed ways in which the tribes and the community can get ahead of the processes and establish relationships so that the tribes are not caught flatfooted by community actions, and vice versa.

Jim Quisquis, a member of the San Pasqual tribe who also serves on the subcommittee, noted that the group's discussions have reflected this desire and may create a catalyst for forming joint powers authorities or memoranda of understanding for mutual cooperation among the county and the tribes.

Quisquis said he thinks the tribes would support using their influence with the county in order to better control how funds they provide to local government are passed on to local planning groups.

"I think that we can tell the county that in our JPA there is a place for consultation with community planning groups."

The planning group voted to endorse the subcommittee's recommendation:

"We need to meet and discuss strategic efforts of public, private, & tribal developments which enhance the community to minimize duplication and maximize the use of community assets this might include the use of Joint Powers Agreements (JPA)."

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