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First phase of Regional University Specific Plan moves forward in west Placer

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved revisions to the Regional University Specific Plan on Tuesday, continuing its commitment to providing much-needed housing, employment, higher education, and recreation in west Placer.   


The 1,157-acre Regional University Specific Plan is split into two components: the university plan and the community plan. Combined, the plan consists of a mixed-use development of 973 housing lots, a four-year private university, commercial/retail spaces, a neighborhood park, a fire station, a public elementary school, open spaces, and accompanying infrastructure. 


A minimum of 10% of homes built within the community portion of the project will be affordable housing. 


"This has been a project that has been thoroughly vetted over a long period of time in the county, and it's another step closer to reality," District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt said. 


The Regional University property, located south of Pleasant Grove Creek between Brewer Road and the western boundary of Roseville, was purchased in 2021 by Hillsdale College, a Michigan-based private university that is doing business for the project as HC Real Estate Holdings Inc.  


Roads, trails., housing construction and commercial development will precede the construction of the private university, which will be funded – at least in part – by home sales. 


Tuesday’s approved revisions to the specific plan were relatively minor, including the relocation of the proposed fire station and the re-configuring of park space to make room for a sewer lift station lot. The redesign will not reduce park acreage. The Placer County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the changes for board consideration on Oct. 27. 


Previous university applicants worked with the county toward a college campus with a capacity of up to 6,000 students, 800 professors and staff members, and related facilities such as student housing, athletic facilities, and open space. Hillsdale College’s existing campus in Michigan accommodates about 1,600 students. Hillsdale is still in the early stages of establishing the size, scope, and timeline of its presence in Placer County.


The Regional University Specific Plan and accompanying environmental impact report were first approved by the board in 2008 and have undergone a variety of revisions. Multiple universities had expressed interest in partnering with previous developers at the site prior to Hillsdale’s most recent commitment to purchase and develop the land. 


The next step in the process is for Hillsdale to partner with a home builder to begin construction. A date has not been set to break ground.