Placer Supervisors approve abandonment of Mill Site Road and Cross Cut Court in Northstar

Published on November 04, 2015

The Placer County Board of Supervisors today approved a series of items that will change the ownership status of two short roads near the Northstar resort in eastern Placer County. The board’s approvals are for the abandonment of Mill Site Road and Cross Cut Court, eventually making the now public roadways privately owned.

The board had tentatively approved the abandonment at their Aug. 4 meeting subject to final findings, and allowed concerned parties additional time to come to their own agreement before taking a final vote.

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.

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 in Martis Camp.

Representatives for the residents of Martis Camp opposed the abandonment, arguing, among other objections, that the closure of Mill Site Road will increase travel time when residents are required to use another entrance to Martis Camp and access Northstar by way of Highway 267.

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.

An environmental document for Martis Camp (then known as Siller Ranch) was approved by the county 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 and Facilities, which presented the item to the board, noted that the primary reason for the Retreat’s abandonment request was to preclude through traffic from using Mill Site Road. The two roadways will become the responsibility of the Retreat. The gate at Mill Site Road will remain accessible to emergency vehicles and public transit vehicles.