Maine Alliance for Road Associations
We are preparing for our first road association meeting. There are six homes with addresses on our street. All of these addresses benefit from our road. There are seven homes whose backyards abut our street. Out of these seven homes, two never access our road (one has a fence). The five others do use the street to access parking spots in the rear of their properties. We are notifying all abutting property owners of our upcoming meetings , proposed bylaws, etc. and trying to determine who is required to join the road association.
The two homeowners that don't access the road do not want to join the association or be assessed. This seems to make sense to everyone in the neighborhood.
Is there a procedure for allowing abutters that do not have beneficial use of the road to opt out?
Do we need to continue to inform these neighbors of road association activities once they opt out?
Thanks for your help!
I am not an attorney and what follows is my opinion only.
You are wise to notify all abutting property owners of your organizational meeting. According to the majority ruling in "Sunshine v. Brett", page 8, on our Resources page, owner usage has nothing to do with whether a property is benefited by a road:
...we conclude that any parcel ⎯ whether developed or undeveloped ⎯ that enjoys a right to use the private road is a benefited parcel.
If the majority of owners vote to have a statutory association, all benefited parcels will be members and will need to be notified of all future meetings and results of voting. Owner members may decide by majority vote not to assess owners who do not use the road.
That approach seems very reasonable to me.
Thanks for your reply.
I too am not a lawyer, but the first question I’d ask of those abutting lot owners that access the rear of their lots by way of the road is; do they have a deeded ROW to do so? If they don’t, your issue just became a little more complicated.
It is correct that every property that has a potential benefit from the road must be included in the road association. It is also true that the members can agree not to assess any fee against those who never actually use the road. However, it would be wise to draw up something in writing and filing it in the Registry f Deeds, whereby the owners of those lots agree that they do not use the road, and that if in the future they do decide to begin using the road, they would then be obligated to become paying members of the road association. Otherwise you could find that after saying they will not use the road, at some point they change their mind and do use the road but do not begin paying.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations