Groups and Open Space District Appeal Cement Plant's Reclamation Plan

Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors will hear public comments on Lehigh Permanente's approved reclamation plan, opposed by a raft of groups. Even the open space agency is appealing. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Lehigh Southwest Cement’s reclamation plan, , faces appeals filed by the company itself, environmental groups and a land preservation agency.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will take the appeals under consideration at a public meeting Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the County's government center located at 70 W. Hedding St. in San Jose.

Public comments about the plan for the cement plant, whose scarred hillsides are prominent for miles above Cupertino, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, will be heard before the board votes.

Patch will follow this activity and report on the board’s vote.

Appeals were filed by Lehigh, environmental groups Quarry No and Bay Area for Clean Environment (BACE), and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD).

MROSD has asked the board in its appeal to reschedule the vote to a later date “to allow time for all interested parties, including the (MROSD) to prepare for the hearing,” which falls “just one working day after the closure of the appeal period,” the agency wrote in its appeal.

In its letter to Board President George Shirakawa and the other supervisors, MROSD expressed a reluctance to file the formal appeal.

“This is a bit awkward, as we are not accustomed to challenging the administrative decisions of sister agencies, we have great respect for the County, its leadership and staff, and the challenging nature of this matter. We do not take this step lightly,” it wrote.

Among MROSD’s objections to the approved plan were numerous “serious” concerns about the environmental impact related to the reclamation plan, which would affect 639 acres disturbed by the mining practices of the Permanente Quarry, operated by Lehigh. Its detailed list of concerns can be found in attachments to this article.

Lehigh filed its appeal based on its objections to a number of conditions the Planning Commission placed on the approval of the reclamation plan, including authority and permissions given to the Planning Manager, language surrounding the county’s provision of documents to other agencies, the use of soil amendments, mitigation of air quality impacts through occupancy restrictions, and water quality and groundwater testing and monitoring plans.

Quarry No’s and BACE’s appeals are similar in nature with concerns about the company’s compliance and release of harmful materials in the air and water.

The omission of the company’s cement plant and its activities from the reclamation plan is a bone of contention for Quarry No, BACE and MROSD as well.

The company’s environmental impact report (EIR) and reclamation plan amendment was approved by the Planning Commission with a number of conditions required that the company must meet as it reclaims land in and around the quarry.

The appeals of each can be found through links on the County's website. The Planning Commission's activities related to Lehigh can be found at its Permanente Quarry page.

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