Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rincon Band of Mission Indians Wants to Remove 520 Acres from County Tax Rolls

The Rincon Band of Mission Indians plans to increase the size of its Valley Center reservation by about 520 acres, according to documents filed with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This will reduce county taxes by $20,000 per year, more if they develop the property

Earlier this month, the tribe, which owns the Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort, submitted an application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to bring the property, which it owns, into its fold. Tribal officials said they do not plan to use the land for gambling purposes.

Rincon's 4,000-acre reservation was established in 1875. It sits on a valley a few miles northeast of Valley Center on Valley Center Road, just south of Highway 76.

The 520-acre property, once home to the Oasis Ranch owned by Natalie Mowry, is bordered by the Rincon reservation to the south and the La Jolla Indian Reservation to the east. An open space preserve forms the north border. The San Luis Rey River runs through the property

The county Board of Supervisors has a longstanding policy of opposing tribal land transfers out of concern the land could be used for building casinos.

Earlier this year, the county opposed a land transfer proposed by the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians. San Pasqual plans to take a 9-acre parcel it owns abutting Valley Center Middle School and formally fold the land into its reservation. The tribe said it wants to build a gas station, a restaurant and a commercial building on the eastern half of the property at the corner of Valley Center and Lake Wohlford roads.

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