The Nevada County Planning Commission will meet tomorrow (Thursday, May 27 2010 1:30 PM in the Rood Center Board Room) to make its final decision on the application of Blue Lead Mine for the “vested right to mine.”
If the Commission decides in favor of Blue Lead, it is very likely that the decision will be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
The Planning Commission staff worked harder than anyone on this issue since last fall, producing numerous studies and recommendations to the Commission, all concluding that Blue Lead, the applicant, has not met its burden of proof of credible legal mining activity on the site in October of 1954, when the county’s Ordinance 196 was enacted establishing zoning regulations. The staff has repeatedly recommended against granting this vested right.
However, at its March 25th meeting, the Commission ignored the recommendation of its own staff and indicated its intention to grant vested rights.
When more than one hundred concerned and vocal citizens — including Blue Lead neighbor, historian and publisher Dave Comstock — packed the chamber for its subsequent April 22nd meeting, the commissioners decided to continue consideration of the issue until tomorrow’s meeting, at which time they will presumably make a final determination.
The new public testimony presented at the April 22nd meeting seemed to influence at least two of the commissioners to reconsider their earlier inclination to grant vesting.
The meeting is important because, if Blue Lead wins the vested right to mine, it may open a Pandora’s Box of similar applications, since a number of other Nevada County properties are now being advertised as eligible for that right.
Another wild card is OMR, the Office of Mine Reclamation, which at the April 22nd meeting, indicated its willingness to replace Nevada County as lead agency for all mining projects if the county does not properly enforce applicable SMARA regulations. OMR representatives will be at tomorrow’s meeting.
This meeting should be interesting, and may include some surprises, including some new research on the issue of vesting.
If you have anything to say about this issue, tomorrow’s meeting will afford you an opportunity to say it.
The meeting will be videotaped, and NCTV is still deciding whether to carry it live.
UPDATE (2 PM): NCTV will broadcast and stream this meeting live.