Fourth DCA overturns mining permit as inconsistent with Plan
The policy permits mining in a certain areas "only" for public road building, agricultural and water management purposes. While the FDOT was the primary intended customer, the development order did not restrict the sale of mined aggregate for the stated uses, but only required annual reporting of sales and customers. There was deposition and trial testimony that the company could not track the use to which sold aggregate was put. Based on that, the 4th District held that the permit was inconsistent with the plain language of the policy and also reaffirmed that reviewing courts do not have to give deference to local government interpretations of their plans.
I am sure that this is not the last we'll hear of this matter. These mines have significant strategic importance because they would produce high-quality aggregate needed for highway construction and the nearest alternative sources (in the Dade County lakes belt) may be shut down on federal permitting issues. The other major south Florida source is in Lee County - but there the County Commission is waging war on aggregate producers and trying to prevent any new aggregate mines through aggressive comp plan policies and land development regulations.
So, the policy will be rewritten and adopted without the restrictive provisions, we'll have another fight, and if the lack of permitting will affect major road construction, I predict we'll get legislation next year that preempts local comprehensive plans and regulations of strategic aggregate mining operations.