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33.05.060 Exceptions.
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The provisions of this title shall not apply to any of the following activities:

A. Excavations or grading conducted for farming or on-site construction or for the purpose of restoring land following a flood or natural disaster.

B. On-site excavation and on-site earthmoving activities that are an integral and necessary part of a construction project that are undertaken to prepare a site for construction of structures, landscaping, or other land improvements, including the related excavation, grading, compaction, or the creation of fills, road cuts, and embankments, whether or not surplus materials are exported from the site, subject to all of the following conditions:

1. All required permits for the construction, landscaping, or related land improvements have been approved by a public agency in accordance with applicable provisions of state law and locally adopted plans and ordinances, including, but not limited to the California Environmental Quality Act.

2. The lead agency’s approval of the construction project included consideration of the on-site excavation and on-site earthmoving activities pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act.

3. The approved construction project is consistent with the general plan and zoning of the site.

4. All reclamation work has been completed pursuant to the approved reclamation plan for any mineral extraction activities that occurred on site after January 1, 1976.

C. Operation of a plant site used for mineral processing, including associated on-site structures, equipment, machines, tools, or other materials, including the on-site stockpiling and on-site recovery of mined materials, are subject to all of the following conditions:

1. The plant site is located on lands designated for industrial or commercial uses in the applicable county or city general plan;

2. The plant site is located on lands zoned industrial or commercial, or are contained within a zoning category intended exclusively for industrial activities by the applicable city or county;

3. None of the minerals being processed are being extracted on site;

4. All reclamation work has been completed pursuant to the approved reclamation plan for any mineral extraction activities that occurred on site after January 1, 1976.

D. Prospecting for, or the extraction of, minerals for commercial purposes and the removal of overburden in total amounts of less than 1,000 cubic yards in any one location of one acre or less, with the written consent of the surface right owner and consistent with applicable law.

E. Surface mining operations that are required by federal law in order to protect a mining claim, if such operations are conducted solely for that purpose.

F. Such other surface mining operations which the State Mining and Geology Board determines to be of an infrequent nature and which involve only minor surface disturbances.

G. Solar evaporation of sea water or bay water for the production of salt and related minerals.

H. Emergency excavations or grading conducted by the Department of Water Resources or the Reclamation Board for the purpose of averting, alleviating, repairing, or restoring damage to property due to imminent or recent floods, disasters, or other emergencies.

I. Surface mining.

1. Surface mining operations conducted on lands owned or leased, or upon which easements or rights-of-way have been obtained, by the Department of Water Resources for the purpose of the State Water Resources Development System or flood control, and surface mining operations on lands owned or leased, or upon which easements or rights-of-way have been obtained, by the Reclamation Board for the purpose of flood control if the Department of Water Resources adopts, after submission to and consultation with, the Department of Conservation, a reclamation plan for lands affected by these activities, and those lands are reclaimed in conformance with the standards specified in regulations of the Board adopted pursuant to this title. The Department of Water Resources shall provide an annual report to the Department of Conservation by the date specified by the Department of Conservation on their mining activities.

2. Nothing in this subsection shall require the Department of Water Resources or the Reclamation Board to obtain a permit or secure approval of a reclamation plan from any city or county in order to conduct surface mining operations specified in subsection (I)(1) of this section. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the bringing of an enforcement action pursuant to Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 2774.1, if it is determined that a surface mine operator, acting under contract with the Department of Water Resources or the Reclamation Board on lands other than those owned or leased, or upon which easements or rights-of-way have been obtained, by the Department of Water Resources or the Reclamation Board, is otherwise not in compliance with this title.

J. Exemptions.

1. Excavations or grading for the exclusive purpose of obtaining materials for roadbed construction and maintenance conducted in connections with timber operations or forest management on land owned by the same person or entity. This exemption is limited to excavation and grading that is conducted adjacent to timber operation or forest management roads and shall not apply to on-site excavation or grading that occurs within 100 feet of a class one watercourse or 75 feet of a class two watercourse, or to excavation for materials that are, or have been, sold for commercial purposes.

2. This exemption shall be available only if slope stability and erosion are controlled in accordance with subdivision (f) of California Code of Regulations Title 14, § 3704 and subdivision (d) of the California Code of Regulations Title 14, § 3706 and, upon closure of the site, the person closing the site implements, where necessary, revegetation measures and postclosure uses in consultation with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

K. Excavations, grading, or other earthmoving activities in an oil or gas field that are integral to, and necessary for, ongoing operation for the extraction of oil or gas that comply with all of the following conditions:

1. The operations are being conducted in accordance with Division 3 of the California Public Resources Code (commencing with Section 3000);

2. The operations are consistent with any general plan or zoning applicable to the site;

3. The earthmoving activities are within oil or gas field properties under a common owner or operator;

4. No excavated materials are sold for commercial purposes.

An exception under this section does not necessarily exempt a project or activity from other regulations or permit requirements of this zoning ordinance or the Sierra County Code. (Formerly 33.06)

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