Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Apologies, this will be a rather convoluted post......we are embarking on upgrading our bylaws that were written in 2014.....and we want to try to control an issue raised by one owner. Our non-profit association was formed in 1983 and evidently there were several properties that predate the association. Recently an owner of one of these properties made the statement that he does not have to pay dues because his property was here before the association. I'm aware of the state law 1301 that requires owners to pay for road upkeep but I want to nip this issue in the bud, looking for ideas on how this could be addressed in the bylaws. This also brings the question as to how we prove that owners are actually part of the association? is payment of dues proof of membership? Can he claim he is not part of the association?
Our association is working quite well with no serious issues, we have a mile of roads with about 26 properties. Currently this owner is paying dues but there is a history of confrontation with them, this property was previously owned by his father who did not pay dues until threatened with a lien on the property. I want to be sure we do our best to reduce our risk down the road.
Any ideas or comments would be much appreciated!
Was your non-profit corporation road association formed according to 23 MRS §§ 3101 - 3104 to be a statutory road association?
Andrew we are not a statutory association, just a non-profit.
I am not an attorney and recommend that you run what follows by an attorney with experience in using the Maine Private Ways Statute (Statute), 23 MRS §§ 3101 - 3104.
I believe your concerns above can be addressed by now adding a statutory component to your current road association. By-laws are not essential. All property owners along your road will become members of the "new" statutory association.
Keep your current non-profit corporation road association and make it a statutory association by using § 3101, subparagraph 2, Call to Meeting as outlined in Roberta Manter's "Statutory road Association - Warrant for First Meeting" on our Resources Page. Follow the Statute to the letter. You must notify all owners along your road by USPS at least 30 days prior to the meeting.
I would also vote to reaffirm your non-profit corporation at this meeting. You will become a statutory road association if the items on the Warrant are approved by majority vote. If you continue to use the Statute to call and conduct meetings, you will be able to hold owners accountable under § 3104, Penalties and process, to pay their share of maintenance costs or be subject to a Notice of Claim against their deed in the amount of their delinquent maintenance fees, late payment penalties, costs of collection, and related attorney fees.
I agree. Adding a Statutory Road Association gives you enforcement powers that a non-profit does not have, and which you cannot use unless you are a Statutory Road Association. You do have to take care to follow the specified procedure to set it up, so that there are no loopholes a person could use to argue that the association was not properly formed and is therefore unenforceable. But there are a lot of great resources to help you through the process on the Resources page of this website. One of my favorites is under number 6, the Windham binder, especially the page on what order to file the forms. It pretty much walks you through the process step by step. (Bear in mind that it was written specifically for residents of the Town of Windham, so there are some details that won't apply.) It's not really that difficult if you just follow the directions step by step. The first thing is to make sure you identify the owners of every single parcel of land that could benefit from use of the road, and when you send out your notice of initial meeting, notify every one of them. It gets easier from there! The Useful Websites resource, also under number 6 on the Resources page, may help you find online resources for identifying all the landowners.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations