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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

Help with repairs?

  • 26 Jul 2023 10:45 AM
    Message # 13232503
    Deleted user

    Hello all-

    I am a new member to MARA, our Sumner Beech Ridge Road Association has 10 residents, we are located in the Town of Sumner in Western Maine. Recent rains have DEVASTATED our road, we have had it graded a few times but can no longer afford it- we collect fees yearly to plow and sand, but have no budget for expensive repairs. I have called the Town Office and also Oxford County Emergency management, no help there. We need at least 1-2 new culverts installed, and ditching? I think!

    17 years ago, when many of us purchased our property, we were all told VERBALLY by the developers that as soon as all lots were sold, the Town would take it over. This idea is even reflected in our bylaws when our association was formed, so it can be assumed that all original owners believed it. This is absolutely not true, according to the town, they will never take it over.

    Is there anywhere to get help? Or apply for a grant?

  • 26 Jul 2023 8:58 PM
    Reply # 13232800 on 13232503
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you have not already done so, take a look at the similar question that was posted on the forum a week ago.

    Unfortunately, a developer has no control over whether or not a town will accept a subdivision road as a town way, and they should never have given buyers the indication that the town would accept it.   Many (if not most) towns will not accept any new roads, due to their budgets already being strained by the cost of keeping their current roads in repair.  In towns that do still sometimes accept roads, generally they require that they first be brought up to town road standards, which is so expensive it's not likely to be within the budget of a developer or a road association.  And if a road is somehow brought up to standard, acceptance then has to go before the town's legislative body for a vote.  Given the fact that adding maintenance of yet another road to the budget is likely to raise taxes, getting a vote of approval is unlikely.

    At some point, there needs to be a way to hold unscrupulous developers accountable.  If the misrepresentation had been caught early, I wonder if Title Insurance could have gone after them?  I'm not sure what recourse there might be this long after the fact.

  • 27 Jul 2023 11:58 AM
    Reply # 13233024 on 13232503
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I agree with Roberta in that it would be an uphill battle to have the town take over your private road.

    Even though this occurred 17 years ago, you may want to consult an attorney who specializes in real estate, specifically in road associations and/or real estate development. There may be fraud or misrepresentation by the developer, but it may be that too many years have passed to pursue those claims. Is the developer still in business?  Did the developer create the bylaws and record them in the registry of deeds? When was the last lot sold?

    Often, a developer will form a company to create a development and then as soon as the development is completed, the developer dissolves the company and moves on to another project. Rinse, repeat.
  • 30 Jul 2023 8:09 PM
    Reply # 13234258 on 13232503

    Regretfully, everyone in Maine is suffering from the storms. I wrote about the question if FEMA/ MEMA  or your road insurance plans will help with storm damage to repair our public easements and private roads.  No help. 

    The ultimate issue is that a call for a special meeting with your members will be needed for an increase in the assessment dues and an adjusted budget for emergency repairs. Pl 23:3101 sub 5:

    Special assessments for emergency repairs and maintenance may be made at a duly held meeting called for that purpose. Emergency repairs and maintenance are those actions necessary to maintain or restore the functionality of the private road, private way or bridge.  

    I wish there was an easier answer.

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