Lompoc Stone (Sepulveda Building Materials)
[Information up to date as of 02/27/2018]
February 11, 2019: The California State Department of Conservation, Division of Mine Reclamation (DMR) provided a final comment letter on the revised Reclamation Plan and had no further comments.
The project is scheduled for hearing at the Board of Supervisors on April 9, 2019.
Sepulveda Building Materials currently operates the Lompoc Stone mine at Santa Rosa Road and Highway 1 in the Lompoc area. The current activities are vested and covered by an approved Reclamation Plan, 90-RP-001. The Reclamation Plan identifies two distinct areas: Site 1A is the mining area, and Site 1B is the sorting and storage area. The Reclamation Plan shows Site 1A within a portion of AP Nos. 083-060-015 and 083-060-009. Site 1B is within AP Nos. 083-070-018 and 083-070-010. Although numerous Assessor's Parcels are shown within the Acin Ranch, the entire ranch constitutes a single legal parcel. This is documented in a Certificate of Compliance recorded as 2015-0063182.
Sepulveda Building Materials is requesting a Vested Rights Determination for mining within the single legal parcel known as the Acin Ranch. The request for additional vested mining activities consists of 28.5 acres on APN 83-060-009, which adjoins the existing vested mining activities per 90-RP-001. Said existing vested mining activities and Reclamation Plan include approximately 3 acres within APN 083-060-009 which partially overlap with the 28.5-acre area currently requested for vesting.
Revised Reclamation Plan
The proposed project includes a revised Reclamation Plan for the expansion of reclamation activities in the requested 28.5-acre expanded mining area. The revised Reclamation Plan (Case No. 10RVP-00000-00048) and the conditions of approval contained therein would supersede the existing Reclamation Plan and associated conditions of approval (Case No. 90-RP-001). In addition, the revised Reclamation Plan recognizes the 3.5-acre as-built expansion of sorting and storage activities that have historically occurred at Site 1B as an accessory use to the vested mining operations.
Raw stone material mined from Site 1A is transported via truck to Site 1B where it is sorted, sized, and stored for sale. Activities include numerous cutting methods to produce fine cut stone products of various types which are then palletized for sale. Finished products are stored in this area until they are sold. Sorting and storage activities associated with the vested mining operation occupy a total of 6.5 acres of the site on AP Nos. 083-070-018 and 083-070-010. Sorting and storage activities associated with a vested mining operation are exempt from permit requirements. Site 1B is located on the north side of Santa Rosa Road, approximately 2.25 miles east of the intersection of Santa Rosa Road and Highway 1.
The existing Reclamation Plan is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2045 (per Condition No. 11 of 90-RP-001). No changes are proposed to the existing expiration date. The proposed project would expand the area covered under the Reclamation Plan from 96.5 acres to 122.0 acres at Site 1A and from 3.0 acres to 6.5 acres at Site 1B. Approximately three of the 28.5 acres now proposed for vesting are included in the existing Reclamation Plan and contribute toward the currently approved 96.5 acre reclamation boundary. The description and information contained in the revised Reclamation Plan dated August 8, 2017 is incorporated into this project description by reference.
Onsite mining consists of the removal of topsoil and 1 to 2 feet of overburden to expose various loose stones and a layer of shale which exists near the surface but can reach depths of 50 feet or more (75 feet is the permitted maximum mining depth). The stones and shale are harvested and the mined areas are backfilled and reclaimed as mining proceeds. Mining and reclamation activities have historically occurred, and would continue to occur, from west to east. As mining is completed on westerly portions of the mine area, reclamation (re-contouring and re-vegetation) is commenced within one year. Exploratory pits are used to identify subsurface veins of rock and shale. These pits help focus mining in the location of desired material. Based on recent mining and exploratory work, the desired material extends to the north and northeast of the historic mining boundary and beyond the limits of the 1998 Reclamation Plan. The proposed revised Reclamation Plan therefore includes this northerly and northeasterly expansion area (enlarging mining within Site 1A from 96.5 acres to 122.0 acres), as shown on the project site plan.
On average, the mine produces approximately 60 tons of final product weekly, which equates to 25 to 26 pallets of cut flagstone. For every 40 tons of material removed from the site, approximately 32 tons become finished product and 8 tons of scrap material is placed back into the excavated mining area. Because of this removal of material, final slopes after reclamation would be from 2 feet to 5 feet lower than the ground surface prior to mining. Re-contouring would resemble the natural topography, but the site would be between 2 feet and 5 feet lower. On average, 1.02 acres are mined per year, but this varies widely because extraction depends on market demand and the percentage of marketable material available per acre. The mine operates during daylight hours only, typically from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
In addition to the mining activities which occur within Site 1A, the proposed revised Reclamation Plan would cover the sorting and storage area located on Site 1B. The revised Reclamation Plan states that within 3 years after the termination of mining operations, all mining product, waste, equipment and trash related to the operation shall be removed from the site, and that the site shall be left in a neat and orderly manner for continued use by the surrounding cattle ranching and farming operations.