(1) Filing procedure. An application for a Conditional Use Permit for a mining operation shall be submitted to the County Planning Department on forms furnished by that Department and shall be full and complete, containing all information required by the Act as well as any additional information requested by the Planning Department. As may be required, supplemental information shall be provided in Appendixes to the application forms in the following format:
(A) Appendix A = Project Description, including the date of commencement of the project, the duration of the project, and the anticipated date of completion.
(B) Appendix B = Property Documentation
(C) Appendix C = Reclamation Plan
(D) Appendix D = Environmental Assessment
(E) Appendix E = Maps & Illustrations
(2) Filing Fee. Each application shall be accompanied by a filing fee in an amount to be set from time to time by the Board of Supervisors.
(3) Acceptance. An application will not be accepted by the Planning Department as complete until the applicant sets forth the required information in sufficient detail to the satisfaction of the Department. When the Department receives all of the information which it requires, the Department shall notify the applicant that the application is accepted as complete pursuant to this section. Acceptance of an application as complete does not constitute an indication of approval.
(4) Preliminary Review. In order to expedite processing, prior to submitting the completed application, Appendix C, the Reclamation Plan, and Appendix D, the Environmental Assessment may be submitted in draft form for preliminary review purposes. However, there is a fee for preliminary reviews, and no final decisions will be made on the application until the project has been reviewed in its complete form.
(b) Procedure for Review and Action on Applications.
(1) Review. The Planning Department will review the Use Permit application for accuracy and completeness, and will coordinate the review with other County and public agencies. Unless for some reason it is not possible, the Use Permit required by this section, and the reclamation plan required by the next section shall be considered together as one application. Applicants should note that any documents required for environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act must also be processed in a timely manner to avoid any delays in the application. Applicants should discuss with the Department any questions they may have about the required environmental reviews.
(2) Public Hearing. Upon completion of the review process, a public hearing shall be held before the Planning commission. Notice of the public hearing shall be given in accordance with the Humboldt County Code, with the following additional requirements: Notification shall also include, at a minimum, property owners within 300 feet from property lines of the parcels on which mining operations will occur, and 1500 feet from the location of any processing plant. Notification shall also be provided to property owners affected by the mining operation and affected haul routes as provided by Section 2530 of Chapter 3 of the Framework Plan of the County’s General Plan. The notice shall specifically identify each issue to be considered at the hearing. The purpose of the hearing shall be to consider the applicant’s request and to approve, conditionally approve, or deny the issuance of a Use Permit.
(3) Approval or Denial. In addition to any findings required for a Use Permit by this County code, the Planning Commission shall approve or approve with conditions the issuance of a Use Permit if the evidence presented supports the conclusions of section “a” and “b” below:
(A) That the application and supporting documents adequately describe the proposed surface mining operation, and adequate measures are incorporated to mitigate the probable or known significant environmental effects which have been or may be caused by the proposed operation. (This section is intended to remind applicants of the requirements for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which compliance is required before any permits may be issued); and,
(B) That the proposed use and location of the surface mining operation is properly located in accordance with the General Plan and any relevant element thereof to the community as a whole, and to other land uses in the vicinity.
(C) If the Planning Commission determines that the above findings cannot be made, it shall so state and deny the application.
(4) The Planning Commission shall, as is necessary to conform with the provisions of this ordinance, the Act and Regulations, and other applicable laws, provide that issuance of the Use Permit shall be contingent upon acceptance and observance of specified reasonable conditions related to surface mining operations, including the approval of a complete and final reclamation plan and financial assurances.
(5) Commencement of operations. An operator shall commence a surface mining operation not later than one (1) year, or such longer period as may be agreed to between the County and the Applicant, from the effective date of the Conditional Use Permit, approval of the reclamation plan (see section 391-5 below), and approval of financial assurances, whichever is later. Failure to commence diligent operations within the one (1) year period, or otherwise agreed to period, renders the Use Permit void. This section shall not apply to those surface mining operations which, after obtaining a Use Permit, comply with any relevant provisions of § 391-7 relating to idle mines.
(6) Term. Mining permits shall be granted for a period of not less than three (3) years and not more than fifteen (15) years. The term of the permit is a discretionary decision which should be governed by the life expectancy of the operation, and any special circumstances related to the operation which would make appropriate a more frequent or less frequent review of the operation. The basis for the determination of the term of the operation shall be stated in the grant of approval.
Upon written request to the Zoning Administrator, before expiration of the original permit, the permit may be reissued for a period equal to that grant of the original permit so long as the permit holder establishes to the satisfaction of the Zoning Administrator, or on appeal to the Board of Supervisors, that the use has been conducted in compliance with permit conditions.
If the law or circumstances of the mining operation have changed from the time the permit was originally issued, any new conditions or requirements determined by the Zoning Administrator, or the Board of Supervisors on appeal, to be necessary for compliance with the laws, regulations or changed circumstances may be added to or modified in the reissued permit.
This section does not establish any right by an operator to continue operating in any particular manner, or at all, at the end of the initial term of the permit originally issued, or any extension thereof.
(7) Rights of successors. Any Use Permit issued for a surface mining operation shall run with the land affected thereby and conditions shall be binding upon all successors, heirs, and assigns of the operator.
(8) Revocation. Use Permits granted pursuant to this Chapter may be revoked or suspended as any other Use Permit, in accordance with current section 317-41 and following of the County Code. (Ord. 2117, 5/28/1996)