Maine Alliance for Road Associations
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.
AGAIN, COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS?
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?
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations