Maine Alliance for Road Associations
We are a statutory road association formed under 23 M.R.S. §3101 . Our by-laws specifically reference that , including the language about limiting paving only to address erosion. Some of the owners want to pave the road ( there is no erosion issue) . They have called a special meeting for this and have proposed changing the bylaws to no longer include the state statute . My opinion is the state statute has precedence and cannot be overridden by a by-law change. I think the individual property owners could pave their part of the roadway , but it would be at their own cost and they would be responsible for maintenance of it.
Anyone with experience like this ? Opinions ?
I believe you are correct that the statute prohibits using member dues for paving, unless to control erosion or to repair paving that was installed before July 1, 2007. One option would be to set aside a separate fund, over and above what people pay for dues, and clearly not connected to dues, but voluntary contributions only. That could then be put towards paving. But that paving could not be repaired with member dues in the future.
I also know of one road association that managed to get unanimous consent from every member to pave the road, which might not actually override the law but would make it difficult for any member to file an objection to the way their dues were being spent.
The only other option I see would be to cease to be a statutory road association, which I believe could deny you other protections you have under the laws.
This would be a great question to bring up to the attorneys at MARA's 2020 Road Association Conference in October. When you consider how much it would cost to get even a brief consultation with an attorney, signing up for the conference is an incredible value! Besides, few attorneys know anything about road associations, but our speakers Mary Denison and John Cunningham are experts in that area. On the other hand, if the attorneys say there's no way around the law, the conference presentation on gravel road maintenance by John Maclaine of the DEP could give you cost-effective alternatives to paving that could result in a road that will keep everyone happy without paving it. Go to the Events page for details.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations