Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Our road association included two roads in a small town approved subdivision. The developers stopped all road maintenance without completing the roads to comply with the town’s road ordinance.
We were forced to form a road association to maintain the roads in the summer and plow the roads in the winter. Developed lots on both roads are assessed $400 yearly and non-developed lots are assessed $100 yearly.
Considering that both roads pay equal yearly assessments, should both roads receive equal summer maintenance by the road association that was formed? It is a small subdivision, and the two roads are somewhat equal in length. Can only one road be accepted for town maintenance, and exclude the other road in the subdivision from being town-maintained?
In our Statutory Road Association, we have assigned "shares" of annual maintenance to each parcel. Parcels with a dwelling unit are assigned 1 share; those without a dwelling unit, 1/2 share. Annual fees are based on owner-approved needs for maintenance for the coming year.
It seems your annual assessments are fixed and that your association is responsible for both roads. It is also possible that road use and parcel development is different for the two roads. If you assigned 1 share to developed parcels and 1/4 share to undeveloped, you could vary the annual assessment for each road depending on the need for maintenance.
If the Town and your owners were willing to have one of your roads be "town-maintained", then only the remaining road would need an association for shared maintenance.
The configuration and history of your roads may be significant. For example, if there was originally just one road that formed a road association, and later a second road was built off the end of the first road, a statutory road association would have to include the owners on the second road as members because they use the first road for access; however, the members of the original association would not be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of the second road, which they do not use and which was not part of the agreement when the road association was formed.
On the other hand, if the second road were to join the first road near its beginning so that owners on the second road use very little of the first road in order to access their property, it would seem unfair to make them pay the same as those who use the whole first road, while not getting their own road maintained.
A very different scenario would be if both roads were built at about the same time, and a road association was formed to cover both roads from the outset. In that case, I would think that funds raised should be used to maintain both roads equitably.
Yet another factor to consider would be if both roads are in essentially the same condition or not. If one road was brought close to town road standard by the developer but the other was not, it could seem unfair to force the members on the better built road to pour more funds into the worse one to try to bring it up to standard. On the other hand, since those on the second road are contributing to maintenance of the first road, it may seem perfectly fair for those on the first road to contribute to maintenance of the second. It also may depend on how much it feels like one community. If there is good rapport between members, people on the better built road may think it's the right and neighborly thing to do to see that everyone has decent access. I think it boils down to what is fair in each individual situation. Try putting yourself in the shoes of each member and see how things look from there.
As for the Town taking over maintenance of one road and not the other, I must comment that I've seen few towns that are willing to take over maintenance of any new roads unless they are first brought to full town road standard at private expense (if then). So if one road meets that standard and the other does not, that would justify the town only accepting one of the two.
I greatly appreciate your response to my question. In the past two years one of the roads has received 100% of the assessment fees. The other road has had "zero" in summer maintenance (gravel, grading, ditching) to improve that road. Our road association president has no interest in any summer maintenance being done to the road. I personally asked the road association president to have gravel put on a section that is being washed out and have asked that the road be graded to eliminate the increasing amount of potholes. The road association president says he believes that road is "just fine".
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations