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Why is building so complex on the Reservation?

| Dec 16, 2016 | Uncategorized |

Arizona is a unique and special place in many ways, representing one of the most complex intersections of long-standing regional cultures in the entire country. One of the most fascinating and complicated facets of the state is the vast areas within our state lines that are designated as the Navajo Reservation. When it comes to land usage and building in particular, the Reservation presents some very specific challenges.

Some of the primary issues presented by the Reservation are in the nature of the land itself, rather than applicable laws. While the land is vast and relatively undeveloped, much of that un-development is not for a lack of opportunity, but for a lack of ease infrastructure and conditions that encourage building.

Of course, even for those who are not deterred by the state of the land itself, acquiring the proper permits necessary to even break ground is exceedingly difficult. All but about 10 percent of the land is owned by the United States federal government, but in the care of the Bureau of Indian Affairs though a land trust. Within that 10 percent of available land, one must still contend with acquiring the proper permits from various archeological and environmental agencies.

Even for Navajo who wish to build, they must apply for a lease from the government, and also from a local Chapter House. Because of difficulty in building, the time period generally looted to build may not be enough time to complete a full building project.

If you are interested in building or developing on the Navajo Reservation, you will need the guidance of an experienced land use attorney. Such an attorney can help you navigate this difficult area and understand the full scope of the project in order to plan successfully.

Source:, “Why it’s so difficult to build homes on the Navajo Reservation,” Dennis Wagner and Craig Harris, Dec. 15, 2016

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