Planning Commission Signs off on Lehigh Inspections

Over the next 20 years, Lehigh Southwest Cement’s historic mining site near Cupertino, Calif., will be restored to its natural state. During that time, the company and Santa Clara County Planning Commission will meet once a year to check progress at the site, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The first of these meetings was held last month, as the commission signed off on the first round of annual inspections for the company’s 2012 reclamation plan, including more than 80 conditions of approval.

Each year, the county prepares an annual report that summarizes compliance with the reclamation plan and the long list of conditions of approval. The report must be presented to the commission at a public meeting before the end of December each year.

Lehigh and the county had been working on a reclamation plan off and on for roughly five years before the June 2012 approval amending the 1985 reclamation plan for surface mining area at the plant and quarry. The area in question covers 1,238 of the company’s 3,510 acres.

Lehigh must continue putting up financial assurance to ensure the reclamation plan is carried out in the future. The number sat at $47.5 million in 2012, but might be closer to $51 million, county staff told the commission on Nov. 21.

About half a dozen residents spoke out at the Dec. 19 meeting and raised questions about the water quality tests on the reclamation site. County staff and commissioners said that the water issue will be part of commission study sessions in December 2014.

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