Supervisors Tentatively Approve Abandonment of Mill Site Road and Cross Cut Court in Northstar

Published on August 04, 2015

The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday tentatively approved a series of four items that, once finally approved, would change the ownership status of two short roads near the Northstar resort in eastern Placer County. The board’s tentative approvals are for the abandonment of Mill Site Road and Cross Cut Court, with the intent of making the now public roadways privately owned.

At issue was the use of Mill Site Road, a public road that runs through the Retreat at Northstar, an 18-lot development. Adjacent to the Retreat is Martis Camp, a 668-lot development. About 225 homes have been built to date in the Martis Camp development. The main roadway through Martis Camp is Schaffer Mill Road, a private roadway that ends at Mill Site Road. The two roads are separated by transponder-controlled gate.

The board gave the two opposing parties 60 days to work out an agreement. Should they not accomplish that, the abandonment would come back to the board for final action.

Residents of the Retreat objected to the use of Mill Site Road as an unintended cut-through road to and from Martis Camp, arguing that use of the gate was only for public transportation and emergency vehicles. Since the gate was installed, more than 1,000 transponders have been issued to residents of Martis Camp and that number, and the use of Mill Site Road, was expected to increase as additional houses are built.

Representatives for the residents of Martis Camp objected to the abandonment, arguing that the closure of Mill Site Road will increase travel time – and the accompanying air pollution – when residents are forced to use another entrance to Martis Camp. They also spoke to safety, saying the longer trips to the Northstar by Highway 267 during times of congested traffic posed risks.

“I would urge continued discussions between the parties to see if there is something you can agree on and that you can come up with,” said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose Fifth District includes the Northstar area.

In December 2014, the board first heard a request by the Retreat at Northstar property owners to abandon Mill Site Road and Cross Cut Court. After extensive testimony for and against the proposed abandonment, the board directed staff to prepare the environmental documentation and other abandonment documents for consideration at a future board meeting, which was Tuesday. That documentation is in support of abandonment. Staff found that no additional impacts were identified that were associated with the abandonment.

An environmental document for Martis Camp (then known as Siller Ranch) was approved by the board in 2005. That document looked at transportation impacts of the Martis Camp project, including estimates of how much traffic Martis Camp would generate and how those trips would be distributed on area roadways. The environmental analysis assumed that all project-related traffic traveling between Martis Camp and Northstar would use State Route 267.

Placer County’s Department of Public Works, which presented the item to the board, noted that primary reason for the abandonment request was to preclude through traffic from using Mill Site Road. The two roadways would become the responsibility of the Retreat once finally approved by the board a future meeting. Final Board action would effectively remove the use of Mill Site Road by other developments. The gate at Mill Site Road would remain accessible to emergency vehicles and public transit vehicles.

(This article was updated on August 7, 2015)