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Tulalips lay out vision for reservation land use

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By Krista J. Kapralos
Herald Writer
Published:
TULALIP -- The Tulalip Indian Reservation may become home to nearly 6,500 jobs if growth outlined in the tribes' new comprehensive plan becomes a reality.
That's nearly 2,600 more jobs on the reservation than exist today. The new jobs are expected to be created in the retail, manufacturing and government sectors.
The plan, prepared by the Tulalip Tribes, offers a glimpse at what may happen on a 22,500-acre section of reservation land that is largely exempt from state and county jurisdiction, including zoning codes, infrastructure regulations and taxes.
The tribal government isn't ­required in most cases to share its plans for economic expansion or natural resource protection, but the 2009 Comprehensive Land Use Plan includes clues as to how the Tulalip Indian Reservation is expected to change between now and 2030.
A public meeting is scheduled for July 22 at Quil Ceda Village to review the plan.
"Hopefully all the comments will be good," Tulalip tribal planner Gus Taylor said.
Tribal planners have been working with Snohomish County planners to align both governments' land-use plans, Taylor said.
Other highlights of the plan include:
  • The number of tribal members is expected to grow by more than 50 percent over the next 21 years, from about 4,000 to about 6,200.
    Most future development is expected to occur in the 6,827-acre southern portion and the 5,090-acre northeastern portion of the reservation, which have the greatest potential due to existing infrastructure and planned water and sewer line expansions.
    The plan hints that the tribal government could be ready to take action regarding some long-standing disputes with nontribal residents of the reservation.
    According to the document, the tribal government expects to this year release a shoreline management plan that will address the health of waterfront areas. The tribe claims ownership of all the shoreline and tideland ­areas within the reservation's boundaries, but non-Indian landowners say their property deeds prove that their ownership extends out into the water.
    Non-Indian developments along the waterfront have had an "incremental but profound effect on water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and tribal members' ability to access, use and fish along reservation shorelines," the Tulalips' land-use plan states.
    Tribal leaders also decided, according to the land-use plan, to not renew leases held by some non-­Indians who have built homes on tribal land. They've announced in recent years that they didn't intend to indefinitely renew the leases, as some homeowners said they expected would happen. That decision is in part to protect fragile shoreline ­areas, but also to free up land for tribal members in need of homes. At last count, there were about 300 tribal families on a housing waiting list.
    About 60 percent of the reservation is owned by either the tribal government or tribal members. The rest of the land is owned by nontribal members.
    Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422, kkapralos@heraldnet.com.
  • Story tags » TulalipIndian Tribes

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