How to participate in the vested rights hearing

The Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, December 13, will hear Rise Grass Valley’s petition for recognition of vested rights to conduct mining operations at the Idaho Maryland Mine. The hearing is at 9:00 a.m. with a second day added on Thursday, December 14, if necessary to accommodate public comment and Board deliberation. The hearing will be in the Board chambers, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City. 

A vested right is “a right to continue activity that existed before a zoning restriction became effective,” County Counsel Kit Elliott said. “A vested rights finding for Rise Grass Valley would mean that the applicant has a legal right to mine on the Brunswick Industrial Site.”  

The Vested Rights Hearing will be limited to: 

  • Presentations from the applicant and from County staff related to the history of the use at the site and the governing law on vested rights. 
  • Questions and comments by the Board. 
  • Public comment. Due to the limited nature of this hearing, those wishing to comment will have three minutes, and any comment must be limited to comments on the historical uses of the site and factual evidence of activities that have occurred on or at the site.  Because it is not relevant to this hearing, no public comment will be allowed regarding support or opposition to the mine, the Idaho Maryland Mine’s Draft Environmental Impact Report, the use permit, the reclamation plan, and/or any other land use entitlement, and /or any other potential impacts of the mine, or any history pertaining to Rise Grass Valley or related businesses. All of those comments should be reserved for either of the next hearings, as described below.

After public comment, the Board will conduct its deliberations.  The Board can then make a final determination on whether the petition for vested rights should be granted.  The Board will decide whether to grant vested rights based on facts confirming the historical use of the Idaho Maryland Mine property currently owned by Rise Grass Valley and the applicable law on vested rights. 

If the Board grants the petition, the next step would be the consideration of a reclamation plan. The conduct of those hearings and legal and environmental considerations would be addressed at that time and would be subject to a noticed public hearing with additional opportunities for the public to participate at each public hearing, at which time the public can discuss potential impacts, opinions in support or opposition, and other topics related to the mine.  

 If the Board denies the petition, the County will schedule a noticed public hearing in early 2024 to continue the process before the Board of Supervisors on the original project application to reopen the Idaho Maryland Mine. This public hearing will also provide an additional opportunity for public comment. 

A copy of Rise Grass Valley’s petition for recognition of vested rights is available for public review at the Community Development Agency, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City or online at