Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Indian Nation v. Whiteside, Nos. 85-4316

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore SKOPIL, FLETCHER and POOLE; FLETCHER
Citation828 F.2d 529
PartiesCONFEDERATED TRIBES AND BANDS OF the YAKIMA INDIAN NATION, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Jim WHITESIDE, et al., Defendants, and Philip Brendale, Defendant-Appellant. CONFEDERATED TRIBES AND BANDS OF the YAKIMA INDIAN NATION, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. COUNTY OF YAKIMA, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Docket Number85-4433 and 85-4383,Nos. 85-4316
Decision Date21 September 1987

Page 529

828 F.2d 529
Jim WHITESIDE, et al., Defendants,
Philip Brendale, Defendant-Appellant.
COUNTY OF YAKIMA, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Nos. 85-4316, 85-4433 and 85-4383.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Nov. 6, 1986.
Decided Sept. 21, 1987.

Page 530

James B. Hovis, Yakima, Washington, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Charles C. Flower, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, David A. Thompson, and Patrick Andreotti, Yakima, Washington, for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

Before SKOPIL, FLETCHER and POOLE, Circuit Judges.

FLETCHER, Circuit Judge:

The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Indian Nation (Yakima Nation) brought these two cases in federal court seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction barring the defendants from making or permitting any land use within the Yakima Indian Reservation that is contrary to the Amended Zoning Regulations of the Yakima Nation. In Whiteside I, 617 F.Supp. 735, the district court found that Yakima Nation's interests in zoning fee land owned by non-members within the closed area of the reservation were infringed by the application of Yakima County's (the County) zoning ordinances and therefore precluded county zoning. By contrast, in Whiteside II, 617 F.Supp. 750, the district court found that Yakima Nation did not have the authority to zone non-Indian fee land in the "open" area, and permitted application of the County's ordinances.

Defendant Philip Brendale, record owner of fee land in the closed area at issue in Whiteside I, appeals on the ground that Yakima Nation has no interest in regulating fee land owned by non-members. We affirm the judgment in Whiteside I. Yakima Nation appeals the judgment in Whiteside II and argues that the tribe has the authority to zone non-Indian fee land in the open area, and further that the federal and tribal interests outweigh the County's interest in regulating the land. We agree that Yakima Nation possesses the requisite authority to zone, and remand to the district court to balance the federal, tribal and County's interests.


I. Whiteside I

The Yakima Indian Reservation is composed of 1.3 million acres of land. Of this amount, about 807,000 acres, including 740,000 acres in Yakima County, fall within the reservation's closed area. Only 25,000 acres of the closed area within Yakima County are held in fee. The closed area is restricted to members of Yakima Nation and permittees in order to protect and enhance its natural resources, natural foods, medicines, game wildlife, and environment. Much of the closed area is forested with timber, a mainstay of Yakima Nation's economic operations. The closed area is relatively undeveloped. There are no permanent residents in the part of the closed area located in Yakima County.

In 1970, Yakima Nation adopted its first zoning ordinance. The ordinance was made more comprehensive in 1972. The tribal code provides for five categories of districts: agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial and restricted. It also establishes requirements for building permits, authorizes the creation of Planned Development Districts, and provides for special use permits. Under the tribal code, only the following uses are permitted in the closed area:

1. Harvesting wild crops;

2. Grazing, timber production or open field crops;

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3. Hunting or fishing by Tribal members;

4. Camping in temporary structures;

5. Tribal camps for the education and recreation of tribal members;

6. Construction and occupancy of buildings and structures constructed by the Yakima Nation or the Bureau of Indian Affairs to be used in the furtherance of tribal resources;

7. No building or other permanent structure or any appurtenances thereto other than those allowed in Sections 1-6 above shall be allowed in this district;

8. Any structure which is authorized in Sections 1-6 above shall be set back 200 feet from any waterway.

Yakima County has regulated land use since 1946, but passed its first comprehensive zoning ordinance in 1965. Within the reservation, the County regulates fee land but not trust land. The County zoned the closed area as "forest watershed," which permits such structures as single family dwellings, commercial campgrounds, overnight lodging facilities with less than sixteen units, restaurants, bars, and general stores. The forest-watershed district is designed to conserve land and water while accommodating pressures for residential, recreational and commercial uses. The County has other land-use regulations applicable to fee land. These include the 1974 subdivision ordinance, which imposes standards for streets, water, sewage, drainage, parks and recreation areas, and school sites, the Yakima County Shoreline Master Program and a federal flood insurance program.

The Brendale property consists of 160 acres of fee land within the forested portion of the closed area. The nearest county road is over twenty miles away. In January, 1982, Brendale filed four contiguous short plat applications with the Yakima County Planning Department, which issued a Declaration of Non-Significance and later approved the applications. In April, 1983, he submitted a long plat application to divide one of his new twenty-acre parcels into ten two-acre lots. He intended the lots to be sold as summer cabin or trailer sites. The County Planning Department issued a Declaration of Non-Significance, which Yakima Nation appealed on the grounds that the County did not have authority to regulate the Brendale land and that the development would significantly affect the environment. The Commissioners found that the County had jurisdiction, but that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should be prepared. Yakima Nation brought this suit as the County began work on the EIS.

II. Whiteside II

Approximately half of the land in the open area is held in fee. Most of the open area is rangeland, and land used for agriculture, and residential and commercial developments. Agriculture and related activities are the primary source of income. Non-members are permitted to move freely in this area. The County maintains an extensive road system of nearly five hundred miles throughout the open area. Most of the fee land lies within the three incorporated towns of Toppenish, Wapato and Harrah. The rest is scattered throughout the reservation in a checkerboard pattern, some clustered in particular areas. Roughly eighty percent of the population of the open area, including that of the incorporated towns, are non-members of Yakima Nation. It appears that neither Yakima Nation nor the County regulates land use within the incorporated towns.

Under Yakima Nation's Amended Zoning Ordinance, the Wilkinson property is zoned "agricultural." This designation indicates that the "principal use of the land is for agricultural purposes." All buildings are prohibited except agriculture related buildings, agriculture product processing plants, buildings on public parks and playgrounds and single family dwellings. The minimum lot size is five acres. This is the only type of agricultural district under the Yakima Nation's Code.

The County's agricultural zones include three types: "exclusive agricultural," "general agricultural," and "general rural." Under "exclusive agricultural" lot size minimums are forty acres, under "general

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agricultural," twenty acres, and under "general rural," one acre. The County has designated the Wilkinson property as "general rural." This zoning is intended to " 'provide protection for the county's unique resources and land base;' 'minimize scattered rural developments ... by encouraging clustered development;' and 'permit only those uses which are compatible with [the] rural character.' " District court opinion in Whiteside II, at 753. The number and variety of uses possible under special use permits is considerably greater than those allowed within exclusive and general agricultural districts. As noted above, the County has other extensive land-use regulations.

The Wilkinson property is a forty-acre tract of fee land about three-quarters of a mile south of the reservation's northern boundary. The City of Yakima is three miles to the north of the tract. The property is vacant sagebrush land.

In September, 1983, Wilkinson applied to the Yakima County Planning Department to subdivide thirty-two acres into twenty lots ranging in size from 1.1 to 4.5 acres, each lot to be used for a single family residence. Wilkinson submitted an environmental checklist from which the Planning Department initially determined that an EIS was required. However, the Planning Department issued a Declaration of Non-Significance after Wilkinson agreed to modify his proposal. Yakima Nation appealed, arguing that the County was without authority to regulate and that the proposal would significantly affect the environment. The Commissioners affirmed and Yakima Nation filed suit in federal court.


I. Public Law 280

Brendale and the County maintain that Washington's enactment of Wash.Rev.Code Sec. 37.12.010, adopted pursuant to Pub.L. No. 280, 67 Stat. 588 (1953), as amended, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1162, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1360 (1982 and Supp. III 1985) (Public Law 280), divested Yakima Nation of authority to regulate the activities of non-Indians on fee-owned land within reservation boundaries. This argument lacks merit. Public Law 280 grants state courts jurisdiction over civil litigation involving reservation Indians, but does not intrude upon tribal regulatory authority. California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, --- U.S. ----, 107 S.Ct. 1083, 1087-88, 94 L.Ed.2d 244 (1987)....

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