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Private Newhall road gets no public help

City: Some residents seek fix for damage; Santa Clarita officials claim it’s not their responsibil

Posted: March 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Chris Amundson, left, and Michelle Crawford point out damage on De Wolfe Road in Newhall on Thursday. Some residents on the private road seek help from the city of Santa Clarita to repair the damage. City officials contend the road is the homeowners’ responsibility because it’s private.

Some residents living on a private road in Newhall asked city officials to help fix their street Thursday after heavy rains stripped asphalt from the road, making an uneven surface that’s difficult to drive on. 

But De Wolfe Road, like a handful of other private roads in Santa Clarita, will not be maintained by the city, and is instead the responsibility of residents, officials said.

That’s because it’s a private road.

While residents can choose to have De Wolfe become publicly maintained, they would need to overhaul the street to get it up to city code.

Problems on the street were exasperated when a storm dumped about seven inches of rain on the SCV earlier this week. Some residents said they tried to call the city but didn’t know who to talk to.

General Services Manager Byron Moline said Thursday that the city had received no calls from De Wolfe residents.

“We need help (from the city),” said Michelle Crawford, who has lived on De Wolfe since 1995. “We need some supplies and guidance.  ... We pay taxes like everyone else.”

With more rain expected through Saturday, Crawford said she worried road conditions outside of her home would get worse.

“I don’t think some people realize streets like this exist in Santa Clarita,” Crawford said. “Everyone thinks it’s all paseos and gated communities.”

Powell Drive cuts east and west of De Wolfe Road.

On the north side of Powell, the side that’s publicly maintained, De Wolfe is flat and paved with asphalt. A few feet away, past a sign that reads “Private Road,” De Wolfe had a mix of mud, dirt and gravel covering the roadway Thursday.

Chasms in the roadway, a few inches deep, run in the middle of the road and slopes up a hill where De Wolfe dead ends.
Resident Dave Faness called the roadway in front of his home “the Grand Canyon.”

There are several private roads like De Wolfe within the city that are maintained by residents, city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said. Like the other private roads in the city, residents are responsible for keeping them drivable, she said.

“When you buy your home (on a private road), that’s something that’s disclosed to you,” Ortiz said. “You are responsible for maintaining the road.”


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