Martis Camp Community Assn. v. County of PlacerAnnotate this Case
In a consolidated appeal, defendant County of Placer decided to partially abandon public easement rights in Mill Site Road, a road that connected two adjacent residential subdivisions: Martis Camp (previously known as Siller Ranch) and the Retreat at Northstar (the Retreat). As originally planned, the connection between Martis Camp and the Retreat was intended for emergency access and public transit vehicles only. When the developments were approved in 2005, the environmental documents assumed there would be no private vehicle trips between Martis Camp and the Retreat or the Northstar community beyond; Martis Camp residents wishing to drive to Northstar-at-Tahoe (Northstar) would use State Route (SR) 267. However, sometime in or around 2010, residents of Martis Camp began using the emergency/transit connection as a shortcut to Northstar. In 2014, after efforts to have county officials stop Martis Camp residents from using the emergency access road failed, the Retreat owners filed an application requesting that the County Board of Supervisors (the Board) abandon the public’s right to use Mill Site Road. In 2015, the Board approved a partial abandonment, thereby restricting use of Mill Site Road to Retreat property owners and emergency and transit vehicles, consistent with what was described and analyzed in the prior planning documents. Then lawsuits followed. Plaintiffs, the Martis Camp Community Association (MCCA) and three individual Martis Camp property owners, appealed the denial of their petitions for writ of mandate challenging the County’s abandonment of Mill Site Road, as well as the dismissal (on demurrer) of the Martis Camp Homeowners’ inverse condemnation claim. After review, the Court of Appeal affirmed the portion of the judgment and order concluding that the County did not violate the Brown Act or the statutory requirements for abandonment of a public road, and affirmed the dismissal of the Martis Camp Homeowners’ inverse condemnation claim, but reversed and remanded as to plaintiffs’ California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) claim.