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Public hearings on Portola mine likely months away

Plumas Country residents opposed to a proposed mine expansion near Portola have been voicing that opposition to their elected representatives. All five Plumas County supervisors reported receiving emails, letters and phone calls on the topic as they discussed their weekly correspondence during their Feb. 2 board meeting.

During the public comment period Feb. 2, four individuals also voiced their opposition to the project in person — each using their allotted three minutes to voice a host of concerns about the mine expansion.

Supervisor Kevin Goss said he invited Planning Director Tracey Ferguson and Assistant Planning Director Becky Herrin to the board meeting to help clarify the process. Herrin, the individual charged with overseeing the application process, said the project is still months away from any decision.

She explained the process, saying that once an application is received, the planning department performs a preliminary review. As part of the process, Planning sends the request to various agencies — both local and state to allow them to comment. While some comments have been received, the department is awaiting more.

“The Planning Department doesn’t deny applications,” Herrin said. “We are charged with working on the project and getting it to the stage for public hearings.”

The application goes to the zoning administrator (Planning Director Ferguson) for a decision. It only goes to the Board of Supervisors if the zoning administrator’s decision is appealed. (It doesn’t go to planning commission.)

“It could take up to a year for the environmental review,” Herrin said. “It will be months before we have any hearings.”

The Planning Department has received comments and public information requests. “If anyone files a request, we provide the info,” Herrin said.


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