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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

One Road, Two Owners

  • 01 Aug 2010 10:53 AM
    Message # 394285
    Deleted user

    We live on a private road.  Approximately one half is owned by the developer, who has created an illegal subdivision (See separate topic under illegal subdivision).  The other half is owned by one of the lot owners, who are members of our road association.  The lot owners that own the other half are asking the question of the Road Association's right to maintain, repair, improve, plow, etc. their portion of the road.  They are sympathetic with the developer, in that he has to pay fees and quite possibly fines to bring his (the developers) portion of the road up to town ordinance standards.

     

    Has anyone else had this experience, or can anyone else share some ideas as to how to solve this?

  • 01 Aug 2010 2:11 PM
    Reply # 394355 on 394285
    Deleted user
    Rick Gilman wrote:

    The lot owners that own the other half are asking the question of the Road Association's right to maintain, repair, improve, plow, etc. their portion of the road. 


    Do you mean that they are asking where a road association gets the authority to maintain a road (or portion thereof) which they own?  The association derives its authority from (a) its membership, each of which have an easement to use the road, and which implies the ability to keep the road in passable condition, and (b) from the Maine Private Ways Statute, 23 MRSA 3101-3106.


  • 02 Aug 2010 8:41 AM
    Reply # 394668 on 394285
    Deleted user
    Let me clarify the situation further.  The road association does not own the road. It is owned by our neighbors next door, and extends for about one half mile.  My wife and I have the only easement to pass on the road to get to our home (other than the developer).  The remaining 5 lot owners do not have an easement to pass over the road.  Does that help?  Can the road association maintain the road without their approval? 
  • 02 Aug 2010 5:10 PM
    Reply # 395040 on 394668
    Deleted user
    Rick Gilman wrote:Let me clarify the situation further.  The road association does not own the road. It is owned by our neighbors next door, and extends for about one half mile.  My wife and I have the only easement to pass on the road to get to our home (other than the developer).  The remaining 5 lot owners do not have an easement to pass over the road.  Does that help?  Can the road association maintain the road without their approval? 

    It sounds like you may have a bigger problem.  From what you say, the ownership of the road rests with 2 property owners, and you are the only other property owner with an easement to pass over the road.  Assuming your association is/was/will be organized under the Private Ways statute, you don't actually have a legal road association at all. 

    The law applies to roads where "4 or more parcels of land are benefited by a private road, private way or bridge as an easement or by fee ownership of the private road". According to your description, there are only 3 properties which are benefited by the road by easement or fee ownership.  Hence, you cannot form a statutory road association.

    Are you sure those other 5 lots have no easement?  Do they have other access to their properties?

  • 03 Aug 2010 8:05 AM
    Reply # 395396 on 394285
    Deleted user

    Sorry to be so confusing.  You are right, ownership of the road rests with two property owners.  There are a total of 8 lots within the subdivision. The developer owns the first half of the road, and all 8 lot owners have an easement to travel over this part.  There are 4 properties along his road, including his.   All have houses built on them. The remaining road was sold along with a house lot as one parcel, with the developer retaining an easement on the road.  We purchased our lot before that transaction, thereby insuring our deeded access was grandfathered.  The second half of the road contains our lot, the lot with the road, and 2 lots that are undeveloped for a total of 4 lots.  Two of the lots have houses (ours and the owner of the road).  The third lot is co-owned by 2 couples who plan to subdivide and build at some point in time.  They have  deeded access from the developer because he sold that lot, then bought it back, then sold it again with deeded access to another party, who sold it to the current owners.  We own the 4th lot.  It is separate from our house lot and we have deeded access from the developer as part of his easement arrangement with the road owner.

    We have formed a Statutory Road Association consisting of 8 lots.

  • 03 Aug 2010 8:21 AM
    Reply # 395404 on 394285
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    I just have to say: this is so complex as to make my mind freeze up. I am glad this is on the message board, though, as other people may have similar problems and perhaps, if you continue to discuss it, they may be able to deal with theirs better.
  • 04 Aug 2010 7:53 AM
    Reply # 396194 on 394285
    Deleted user

    I've only really scratched the surface Betsy.  There's a whole lot more, including the illegal subdivision, foreclosure issues, fraud, maintenance contracts, businesses on the road, lies to town officials, etc.  Probably enough drama for a reality show!!

    Seriously, it would make for an intersting case study for undergraduate lawyers.  It is just full of legal twists and turns.

  • 04 Aug 2010 8:06 AM
    Reply # 396197 on 396194
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Rick Gilman wrote:

    I've only really scratched the surface Betsy.  There's a whole lot more, including the illegal subdivision, foreclosure issues, fraud, maintenance contracts, businesses on the road, lies to town officials, etc.  Probably enough drama for a reality show!!

    Seriously, it would make for an intersting case study for undergraduate lawyers.  It is just full of legal twists and turns.

    It might not be a bad idea to take this to an academic institution like Colby, which has a special interest in lakes and the environmental issues around them, and see if they can't get a bunch of smart young people studying it. Let me think about that and get back to you. 
  • 04 Aug 2010 8:08 AM
    Reply # 396198 on 396197
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Betsy Connor Bowen wrote:
    Rick Gilman wrote:

    I've only really scratched the surface Betsy.  There's a whole lot more, including the illegal subdivision, foreclosure issues, fraud, maintenance contracts, businesses on the road, lies to town officials, etc.  Probably enough drama for a reality show!!

    Seriously, it would make for an intersting case study for undergraduate lawyers.  It is just full of legal twists and turns.

    It might not be a bad idea to take this to an academic institution like Colby, which has a special interest in lakes and the environmental issues around them, and see if they can't get a bunch of smart young people studying it. Let me think about that and get back to you. 
    PS Does this road lie near a lake? Are there environmental problems that poor maintenance would aggravate? If not, it's a different kind of case but still a good candidate for an intensive study.
  • 05 Aug 2010 7:42 AM
    Reply # 396922 on 394285
    Deleted user
    The road is not near a lake, nor are there any environmental challenges.

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