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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

Non-abutting landowners use of private road

  • 05 Apr 2022 5:26 PM
    Message # 12695557

    Our dirt road  has been abandoned for many years and has always been maintained by a few permanent landowners. Since last year it is officially a private road. Throughout the years the road has been used by landowners that do not have have property on the road but past where the private road ends.  There is another discontinued county road available for these landowners to use, but the road would need significant work to make it as passable as ours. So here are my question: Now that our road is private can we keep these non-landowners from using our road or are they grandfathered in. Also can we keep them from using it to haul their logs on semi trucks all day long?  Could you please get me in touch with a attorney that specializes in private roads as this is becoming quite a sticky situation for us private road landowners.

  • 06 Apr 2022 7:03 AM
    Reply # 12696323 on 12695557
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It sounds to me as if an attorney is probably needed. I would first write to the owners using your road with property beyond. Since they have a second option, ask them to use the other road since your road is now private. Give your reasons and see if they are willing to negotiate with you. 

    If not, I recommend contacting an attorney with experience in real estate and private road disputes. Attorneys Mary Denison, Winthrop, or John Cunningham, Brunswick, may be able to help you.


    Last modified: 06 Apr 2022 7:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 07 Apr 2022 4:54 PM
    Reply # 12699134 on 12695557
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wow, that sounds like a really complicated situation. Multiple roads, multiple parties, multiple uses of the road - what a mess! But sad to say, this sort of scenario is all too common on abandoned or discontinued roads.

    First, I understand your concern about use of the road by people who do not depend on it for residential access. I have lived on an abandoned road for nearly forty years, and for about half of that time, we suffered with logging operations on one lot or another along the road about every two years, with dire consequences. Fortunately, the forestry industry is beginning to crack down on their own, so the most recent logging operation we saw did far less damage than the earlier ones. But I hear your concern about use of the road by heavily laden trucks, as well as the thought of having your tranquility disturbed by heavy traffic.

    Because my answer is rather long and detailed, and has more to do with abandoned and discontinued roads than road associations, I’m going to send the rest to you in an email instead of posting it here on the forum. Look for an email with the subject “abandoned road.”


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