In a major win for the Lehigh Heidelberg Cement Group, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday evening in favor of "vested rights" for the majority of the company's mining operations at the Permanente quarry, despite calls from dozens of residents to limit or deny those rights.
The vote means that Lehigh will not have to apply for new land use permits for future mining operations on 13 of 19 parcels it owns in the foothills near Cupertino and Los Altos. However, the company does have to file what are called reclamation plans for any future activities.
Supervisors heard from more than 100 speakers on both sides of the issue. Lehigh employees packed the chambers, leaving most residents who were speaking against the the company standing in the back of the room or sitting in a nearby meeting room with a direct video feed.
While opponents to vested rights argued that stricter environmental oversight of Lehigh's operations in the foothills was needed, the supervisors noted that any proposed mining activities—including a new 200-acre pit mine under consideration later this year—will still have to undergo environmental review, even with vested rights.
Patch will have a complete report on Wednesday.