§ 88.03.060  Application Filing, Processing, and Review.
   (a)   Application Filing.
      (1)   Applications for a Conditional Use Permit and/or Reclamation Plan for surface mining or land reclamation projects shall be made on forms provided by the Department and filed in compliance with Chapter 85.03 (Application Procedures).
      (2)   The forms for Reclamation Plan applications shall require, at a minimum, each of the elements required by SMARA (Public Resources Code §§ 2772-2773) and other State regulations, and any other requirements deemed necessary to facilitate an expeditious and fair evaluation of the proposed Reclamation Plan, to be established at the discretion of the Director.  For surface mining operations that are exempt from a Conditional Use Permit in compliance with this Chapter, the Reclamation Plan application shall include information concerning the mining operation that is required for processing the Reclamation Plan.  All documentation for the Reclamation Plan shall be submitted to the County at one time.
      (3)   As many copies of the Conditional Use Permit application and the Reclamation Plan application as may be required by the Director shall be submitted to the Department.
      (4)   Applications shall include all required environmental review forms and information prescribed by the Director.
   (b)   Fees.
      (1)   Establishment of Fees.  The County shall establish processing fees that it deems necessary to cover the reasonable costs incurred in implementing this Chapter and the State regulations, (e.g., costs of processing of applications, annual reports, inspections, monitoring, enforcement, compliance etc.).  The fees shall be included in the Planning Fee Schedule.
      (2)   Payment of Fees.  The fees shall be paid by the operator, as required by the County, at the time of filing of the Conditional Use Permit application, Reclamation Plan application, and at other times that are determined by the County to be appropriate in order to ensure that reasonable costs of implementing this Chapter are borne by the mining operator.
   (c)   Processing.
      (1)   Within 30 days of acceptance of an application for a Conditional Use Permit for surface mining operations and/or a Reclamation Plan as complete, the Department shall notify the State Department of Conservation of the filing of the application(s).
      (2)   Whenever mining operations are proposed in the 100-year floodplain of any stream, as shown in Zone A of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and within one mile, upstream or downstream, of any State highway bridge, the Department shall also notify the State Department of Transportation that the application has been received.
      (3)   The Department shall process the application(s) through environmental review in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code §§ 21000 et seq.) and the County’s Environmental Review Guidelines.
      (4)   Subsequent to the appropriate environmental review, the Department shall prepare a staff report with recommendations for consideration by the Commission.
      (5)   Before final approval of a Reclamation Plan and financial assurances (as required in this Chapter), or any amendments to the Reclamation Plan or existing financial assurances, the Director shall:
         (A)   Certify to the State Department of Conservation that the Reclamation Plan and/or financial assurance complies with the applicable requirements of State law; and
         (B)   Submit the Reclamation Plan, financial assurances, or amendments to the State Department of Conservation for review.
   (d)   Review by Commission and State.
      (1)   In compliance with Public Resources Code § 2774(d), the State Department of Conservation (DOC) shall be given:
         (A)   Thirty days to review and comment on the Reclamation Plan; and
         (B)   Forty-five days to review and comment on the financial assurance.
      (2)   The Commission shall evaluate written comments received, if any, from the DOC during the comment periods.
      (3)   Staff shall prepare a written response describing the disposition of the major issues raised by the State for the Commission’s approval.  In particular, when the Commission’s position is at variance with the recommendations and objections raised in the State’s comments, the written response shall address, in detail, why specific comments and suggestions were not accepted.  The Commission staff report including the staff prepared responses to the DOC, along with the minutes of the hearing, shall constitute the written response to the State.
   (e)   Public Hearing.  Upon completion of the environmental review procedure and filing of documents required by the Director, a public hearing before the Commission shall be held to consider approval of the Conditional Use Permit or Reclamation Plan for the proposed or existing surface mine in compliance with Public Resources Code § 2774.
   (f)   Action by Commission.  The Commission shall then take action to approve, conditionally approve, or deny the Conditional Use Permit and/or Reclamation Plan, and to approve the financial assurances in compliance with Public Resources Code § 2770(d).
   (g)   Conditional Approval.  If a Conditional Use Permit is being processed concurrently with the Reclamation Plan and it becomes necessary to comply with permit processing deadlines, the Commission may conditionally approve the Conditional Use Permit with the condition that the Department shall not issue the Conditional Use Permit for the mining operations until cost estimates for financial assurances have been reviewed by the State Department of Conservation and final action has been taken on the Reclamation Plan and financial assurances.
   (h)   Approved Conditional Use Permit and Reclamation Plan Copies Provided to State.  The Department shall forward a copy of each approved Conditional Use Permit for mining operations and/or approved Reclamation Plan, and a copy of the approved financial assurances to the State Department of Conservation within 30 days of approval.
   (i)   Statement of Responsibility.  Before commencing mining operations, the property owner and/or mining operator shall sign a Statement of Responsibility accepting responsibility for reclaiming mined lands in compliance with the Reclamation Plan. The Department shall retain the Statement of Responsibility in the mining operation’s permanent record.  Upon sale or transfer of the operation, the new operator shall submit a new Statement of Responsibility in compliance with Subdivision (j) (Transfer of Ownership), below.
   (j)   Transfer of Ownership.  Upon sale or transfer of a mining operation and for the purpose of documenting a transfer of ownership of an approved Conditional Use Permit or Reclamation Plan, a new property owner and/or mining operator of a mining operation shall submit the following documents before taking over a mining operation:
      (1)   The new operator of a mining operation shall file a Transfer of Ownership application with the Department.  The Director shall approve the application and the Transfer of Ownership form shall be placed in the Department’s permanent record.
      (2)   The new property owner and/or mining operator of a mining operation shall file a new Statement of Responsibility with the Department.  The Director shall approve the Statement of Responsibility and the new Statement of Responsibility shall be placed in the Department’s permanent record. 
   (k)   Findings for Approval of Permits and Plans.
      (1)   Conditional Use Permits.  In addition to the findings required by Chapter 85.06 (Conditional Use Permits/Minor Use Permits), Conditional Use Permits for surface mining operations shall include a finding that the project complies with the provisions of SMARA and State regulations.
      (2)   Reclamation Plans.  In order to approve Reclamation Plans, all of the following findings shall be made in the affirmative:
         (A)   The Reclamation Plan complies with SMARA (Public Resources Code §§ 2772-2773 and any other applicable provisions).
         (B)   The Reclamation Plan complies with applicable requirements of State regulations (Code of Regulations §§ 3500-3505 and 3700-3713).
         (C)   The Reclamation Plan and potential use of land reclaimed in compliance with the Plan are consistent with this Chapter and the General Plan and any applicable resource plan or element.
         (D)   The Reclamation Plan has been reviewed in compliance with CEQA and the County’s environmental review guidelines, and all significant adverse impacts from reclamation of the surface mining operations are mitigated below a level of significance or to the maximum extent feasible.
         (E)   The land and/or resources, such as water, will be reclaimed to a condition that is compatible with, and blends in with, the surrounding natural environment, topography, and other resources, or suitable off-site development will compensate for related disturbance to resource values.
         (F)   The Reclamation Plan will reclaim the mined lands to a usable condition which is readily adaptable for alternative land uses consistent with the General Plan and applicable resource plan.
         (G)   A written response to the State Department of Conservation has been prepared, describing the disposition of major issues raised by that Department.  Where the County’s position is at variance with the recommendations and objections raised by the State Department of Conservation, the response shall address, in detail, why specific comments and suggestions were not accepted.
(Ord. 4011, passed - -2007; Am. Ord. 4163, passed - -2012)