Maine Alliance for Road Associations
wynn muller wrote:Does the one vote per parcel also mean, one share of the expenses per parcel? I share a road with one other. I have three parcels and he has one but we both use the road similarily. He maintains that I must pay 3/4ths of all costs of road maintenance. Do you agree?
Todd Tolhurst wrote:Doesn't matter if they're adjoining or not. If there are two distinct parcels, there are two distinct votes.
THOMAS DECOSTE wrote:In our association we have owners who have sold off portions of their land creating another parcel. This has a separate deeded recorded with the county and is a separate parcel in the eyes of the road association and any other legal entity. Conversely, there have been adjoining parcels which have been purchased as distinct parcels and have been combined and recorded as one parcel with the county. This reduces the "per lot" association from 2 to 1 parcel as it is legally one lot.
I might caution just taking the information of how many bills the town or plantation sends out. They may combine for efficiency in mailing. This may be unlikely, but a call to the town tax collector should resolve the issue of whether the legal combining has been completed and recorded.
Since I am retired with an interest in road associations, I decided to plug the word “parcel” into our Forum Search gadget. Up came 150 entries! Hmmm.
Here’s an interesting topic: One vote per “parcel”? September 24, 2011, 2:51 PM, Message #707539:
QUOTE: The statute states "Each parcel of land benefitted...represents one vote". So what if I bought two adjoining parcels? Do I get two votes? Suppose I bought two parcels that are NOT adjoining each other. Do I get two votes?
Good questions. I hope our Association's dilemma and response will help provide an answer.
Our road association has thirteen Lots comprising ten properties on a private gravel road 800 feet long with a dead end. One owner has three lots that do not contain a residence; another owns two lots, one in common with his spouse, and one of which includes their residence. The remaining eight owner properties occupy eight residential Lots. Our challenge here was to be fair and equitable in determining the number of votes and assessment shares for each owner.
If we permitted each Lot to be a parcel, one owner would have three votes, another two votes, and the remaining owners one vote each –not a good solution for us. We decided that the number of Lots owned should not decide the number of votes; each of the ten properties should have one vote. We also felt that residential development and, to some extent, location along the road was important in determining assessment shares.
Since 23 MRS §3101 states that each parcel shall represent one vote, we decided to approve the following "Definition of a Parcel" for our By-laws:
“A parcel shall be defined herein to include property owned by a member that meets at least one of the following criteria: 1. A single Lot representing sole ownership interest in the Association. 2. Multiple Lots with an owner in common. 3. A Lot(s) that contains a dwelling unit comprising a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. Property meeting two of the above shall be defined by criterion 3.”
This definition permits the owner of three Lots and the owner of two Lots to have one parcel and one vote each giving our Association the one vote per property we wanted. If one of the owners with multiple Lots sells a single lot without a residence to someone outside our association, that Lot will be a new parcel.
We decided to assign one full assessment share to each residential parcel excepting two families living within 75 feet of the beginning of the gravel road. They were assigned 1/5 share each. The non-residential parcel composed of three Lots was assigned 1/2 share until the the first annual meeting after the completion of a dwelling unit when one full share will be assigned.
Situations faced by road associations are often complicated and can make one's head spin. Finding an amenable solution can be similar to solving a puzzle. I hope our response to the challenges we faced has answered some of the concerns expressed in the above discussion.
P. S. I just noticed the question asked in the preceding Reply #711585. Since the definition of a parcel has nothing to do with the deed or its history, I believe the owners in the road association could decide the issue.
1. Betsy Bowen, "Using the Maine Private Ways Statute (as a Template)", MARA Resources Page, A Leadership Manual, 2009, Page 4.
2. MARA Forum Topic, 13 Oct 2019,10:35 AM, "Annual Meeting for Statutory Road Association; Private Ways Statute as "Template", Message #7921492 and all Replies.
Excellent answer, Sandy. Our road association came to a similar conclusion. One owner had multiple lots, not all contiguous, and none with houses on them. If we had charged him per lot, he would also have gotten several votes, which didn't seem fair to the other members. (Especially since he was a chronic non-payer who only paid up when he was forced to by the sale of one or another of his lots.) Each time he did sell a lot, we gained a paying member, and also gained one voter. We also had another member who owned one large lot but periodically divided off a small lot and sold it, which again gave us an additional member with an additional vote. Yet another member bought the lot adjacent to theirs, so the two are now considered one lot with one fee and one vote. I like your solution of defining "parcel" in your bylaws, and wish we had thought of doing that, just to be clear. Fortunately, the owner of the multiple lots has now sold all of them, so this is no longer an issue for us.
Interesting topic to add some fuel to the fire on a similarly related topic.
Headline: "State’s top court rules in dispute over Scarborough tax breaks
The dispute centered on a widespread but little-known benefit for people who own a vacant adjacent lot."
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations