Monday, December 9, 2013
New Ninth Circuit case addresses tribal jurisdiction for zoning of non-tribal member lands within reservation boundaries
Those interested in the intersection of land use and Native American law will want to take a look at the Ninth Circuit's recent decision in Evans v. Shoshone-Bannock Land Use Policy Comm'n, 13-35003, 2013 WL 6284359 (9th Cir. Dec. 5, 2013). In Evans, a nonmember of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes sought to build a single-family home on land he inherited and owned in fee simple that was also surrounded by the Tribes' reservation near Pocatello, Idaho.
Although the project proponent obtained the proper building permit from the relevant county government, he did not obtain any permit from the Tribes. The Tribes issued a stop work order on the project and further requested that the project proponent pay the Tribes' permit fees, and asked him to ensure that all of his contractors and subcontractors obtain business licenses and pay fees to the Tribes. The project proponent contested the Tribes' jurisdiction to require compliance with the Tribes' land use policies. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held for the project proponent and determined that the Tribes did not have jurisdiction over the nonmember's land, even though it was within the reservation, sufficient to require compliance with the Tribes' land use policies. The Court's decision provides substantial analysis of claims for tribal jurisdiction of land use planning on reservations.
Stephen R. Miller