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Am. Smelt. & Refin. v. County of Knox

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 27, 1974.

AMERICAN SMELTING & REFINING COMPANY, APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT,

v.

THE COUNTY OF KNOX ET AL., APPELLANTS AND CROSS-APPELLEES. — AMERICAN SMELTING & REFINING COMPANY, APPELLEE,

v.

THE COUNTY OF PEORIA ET AL., APPELLANTS.



No. 46595. — Appeal from the Circuit Court of Knox County; the Hon. Keith F. Scott, Judge, presiding.

No. 46596. — Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. Charles W. Iben, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE KLUCZYNSKI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied March 24, 1975.

Michael M. Mihm, State's Attorney, of Peoria (James O. Christy, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel), for appellants.

James T. Otis, Robert A. Creamer, and Price, Cushman, Keck, Mahin & Cate, all of Chicago (Thomas G. West, Stuart, Neagle & West, Wayne L. Hanold, and Westervelt, Johnson, Nicoll & Keller, all of counsel), for appellee.

The primary issue presented is whether the reclamation of strip-mined land is exclusively governed by the Surface-Mined Land Conservation and Reclamation Act (hereafter Reclamation Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 93, pars. 201 through 216) or whether additional requirements may be imposed by counties pursuant to their zoning power. We granted motions for direct appeals (50 Ill.2d R. 302(b)) from judgments of the circuit courts of Knox and Peoria counties and have consolidated the appeals for decision and opinion.

In cause No. 46595 plaintiff, American Smelting & Refining Company, filed an action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in the circuit court of Knox County against the County and certain of its officials. Motions for summary judgments were submitted by the respective parties. Plaintiff appeals from that portion of the circuit court judgment holding that the Reclamation Act is not the exclusive basis for the imposition of reclamation standards and that in appropriate circumstances a county may set such requirements under the authority conferred in the County Zoning Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 34, par. 3151 et seq.). The defendants in the Knox County action appeal from that portion of the circuit court judgment holding that county's zoning ordinance invalid because it improperly delegated authority to the County's Zoning Board of Appeals to determine the issuance of "conditional use" permits without imposing sufficient standards upon which that authority might be exercised.

In cause No. 46596 plaintiff instituted a comparable action in the circuit court of Peoria County. Similar motions were presented, and the circuit court granted relief to plaintiff holding that certain zoning provisions of the Peoria County Code were invalid insofar as they conflicted with and were preempted by the enactment of the Reclamation Act.

Midland Coal Company (hereafter Midland) is a division of plaintiff, and it operates one mine in Knox County and two mines in Peoria County. In 1973 Midland applied to the Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals (hereafter Department) for a permit to engage in surface mining of 504 acres in Knox County (46595) commencing July 1, 1973. This land was zoned for farming. Included with the application was a proposed reclamation plan. This information was also filed with the clerk of Knox County pursuant to section 5 of the Reclamation Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 93, par. 205(f).) A revised application and plan were subsequently submitted. Knox County, as allowed by section 5, filed its objections thereto with the Department, noting specifically that much of the subject property was suitable for row-crop agriculture and further seeking that additional reclamation requirements be imposed. After rejecting certain reclamation suggestions of Knox County in June 1973, the Department issued a one-year permit for the strip mining of the land.

During this period the Knox County zoning administrator informed Midland that mining operations could not begin until the Zoning Board of Appeals had authorized a "conditional use" permit for such activities. After the State permit was issued, a suit was commenced in the circuit court to determine the validity of the County's action. Plaintiff thereafter filed a request with the Zoning Board of Appeals for a "conditional use" permit, although plaintiff continued its assertion that the County lacked authority to impose reclamation standards. Hearings on the issuance of the conditional use permit were conducted, and a permit to strip-mine 100 acres of the proposed property was granted. This area was suitable for pasture and was partly covered by brush and timber. Reclamation of this area was to be in accord with a plan submitted by plaintiff.

The remaining acreage was determined to be suitable for intensive row-crop agricultural purposes. Thus the board determined that certain reclamation procedures, hereinafter set forth, be utilized. These requirements were more stringent than those adopted by the Department for issuance of the State permit. A supplemental complaint was then filed seeking to have the county requirements declared null and void.

Plaintiff's brief summarizes the pertinent distinctions between the Knox County Zoning Board of Appeals requirements for row-crop agricultural land and the State reclamation standards in this case as follows:

COUNTY STATE

GRADING: The slope is not to The slope is to approximate the exceed 7% of original original grade for row agricultural contour. ...


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