Maine Alliance for Road Associations
I recently joined MARA because the owners on our private road are considering developing a Road Association and this forum is a great source of information and experience. I’m not looking for legal advice just hoping that others can share their similar experiences.
We have six parcels abutting our private road. Four parcels have deeded ownership of the road and two have deeded ROW for access/egress and utilities. The four road owners and one parcel with ROW have cooperated on maintenance and repairs of the road. One parcel feels they are only responsible for 1/6 of their deeded ROW which is the first section of roadway even though their private business creates over 60% of the road trips over the ROW section.
If five parcels agree and follow the process of forming a Statutory Road Association can the sixth parcel simply refuse to either participate and ignore the by-laws and cost responsibility the association ultimately agree on. Because of their deeded ROW are they exempt from any Road Association created after they were granted a ROW or if the Road Association is properly created do they become a party even if they don't participate but were duly notified of all meetings, by-laws, etc.
We are just starting the process and haven’t held any formal meetings yet. We do plan on consulting with a Real Estate Attorney before we start. Any similar experience, suggestions or issues we may face would be appreciated.
I am not an attorney and I'm glad you plan to consult one for this matter.
No owners of property benefitted in common by a private road are exempt from membership in a statutory road association if it is formed according to the Private Ways Statute, §§3101-3104.
If the owner of the "6th parcel" along with all owners on the road are duly noticed (§3101) of the initial meeting and the statutory road association is approved by a majority of those present and voting or absent and voting by proxy or absentee ballot, then all owners so notified, including owners of parcel 6, will be members of your statutory road association, subject to your by-laws, and §3104, Penalties and process. I suggest placing a formula in your by-laws for sharing of road maintenance expenses that may be seen as "fair and equitable" by the courts.
I agree. The debate may come down to regarding what might be seen as "fair and equitable" by the Courts if it came down to a challenge there. There has been lively discussion on the Forum over whether fairness is better served by charging every person the same amount, or charging each person based on how much of the road they use. I do know of one association that proposed getting most of their revenue from a single property that wanted to operate as a Bed and Breakfast. Not surprisingly, the owner of the bed and breakfast was irate, insisting that their guests would not make much more use of the road than any other owner. I never did hear how that one was sorted out - but I would caution you to consider what charge might be accepted as fair by your heavy user without your having to go to great expense to collect it.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations