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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

Legislative Update

  • 30 Aug 2019 3:37 AM
    Message # 7856292

    WE NEED YOUR INPUT!  There are two upcoming legislative efforts. The

    first is an effort to come up with legislation allowing SMALL ROAD ASSOCIATIONS where there are four or fewer residences. What do

    MARA members want them to know?

    The second is  a Legislative Subcommittee that will be studying the

    issues surrounding ABANDONED AND DISCONTINUED ROADS. Are

    there concerns that MARA should bring before them?

    Regarding the small road associations, the current laws allow the

    formation of a statutory road association where there are four or more

    land owners. This leaves a gap where there are three or fewer, and

    mortgage lenders often will not approve a mortgage unless it can be

    shown how the access to the property will be maintained.

    The bill as proposed last session had some problems, including

    definitions that conflicted with the existing statutes. There was also an ambiguous overlap, as a statutory road association can have more than

    four land owners but only four or fewer residences. Which law would


    The new law as proposed would have bypassed many of the protections incorporated into the existing road association statutes, including

    possibly allowing one owner to demand expensive upgrades the other

    owners did not want or could not afford.

    You can read the text of the bill as originally proposed here:


    HP115701.asp   (You will have to copy and paste the link to get it to work, as this site has too narrow a column to accept it on one line.)


    Regarding abandoned and discontinued roads, there remain issues of

    properties becoming land locked, either through extinguishment of the easement, or through unrestricted public use of public easements in the absence of public maintenance.

    Roads that cross town lines can be particularly problematic, as one town

    has no legal obligation to the properties in another town that may have

    no other access. Is there any way to restore access once it's gone?

    Abandonment was supposed to be a one-time opportunity for towns to

    get rid of roads that had been long since forgotten and no longer

    needed by anyone. Instead, it continues to be used as a method of

    relieving towns of their obligation to repair deteriorating roads, and

    to avoid the expense of compensating land owners for loss of access,

    as would be required in a formal discontinuance.

    Some towns have declared roads abandoned in spite of evidence to the contrary, and the only way to overturn the determination of the

    Selectmen is through costly Court action. Does this really satisfy due

    process? Shouldn't there be a more accessible review?

    Many towns don't even know the legal status of some of their roads

    , and are reluctant to allow residents access to the records. In other

    towns, uninformed town officials have given out faulty information

    , little knowing the dire consequences that can have.


    Last modified: 31 Aug 2019 10:09 AM | Anonymous member
  • 03 Sep 2019 2:14 PM
    Reply # 7862044 on 7856292

    It appears that some of the comments written above are missing some words within the boundaries of the discussion section.

    If there is one property then it is considered a driveway. If their are 2 then it will need to be named as a private road for emergency 911 purposes, but to most towns it's treated like a driveway. this is the same for up to 4 properties. 

    the challenge is of the 4 or less on a private road (in example, who aren't family) is how will a new owner help with snow plowing and road maintenance? This type of situation can get even more complicated if it's a paved road too.

    Does any of our members have a road maintenance agreement placed are your Deed?

    Is there any MARA  members who formed a non-profit ONLY for 4 or less lot owners familiar with the process of placing a road agreement on a Deed?

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