Preamble: The purpose of this statute is to facilitate the formation of road associations for private roads and to assist said associations in the assessment and collection of fees to properly maintain and repair these roads.
§ 3101. Call of meetings; maintenance; repairs
1. Definitions. As used in this subchapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Private way" means a public easement as defined in section 3021, subsection 2.
B. "Repairs and maintenance" does not include paving, except in locations where limited paving is demonstrated to be a cost-effective approach for fixing an erosion problem or to repair and maintain pavement existing as of July 1, 2007. "Maintenance" includes, but is not limited to, snowplowing.
2. Call of meeting. When 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, private way or bridge, the owners of any 3 or more of the parcels, as long as at least 3 of the parcels are owned by different persons, may make written application to a notary public to call a meeting to address the repair and maintenance of the private road, private way or bridge.
The meeting may also be used to choose a commissioner or Board pursuant to subsection 6, to form a road association, and to develop by-laws of said association. The notary may issue a warrant or similar written notice setting forth the time, place and purpose of the meeting.
Copies of the warrant or similar written notice must be mailed by means of the United States Postal Service to the owners of all the parcels benefited by the private road, private way or bridge at the addresses set forth in the municipal tax records at least 30 days before the date of the meeting.
If mailing copies of the warrant or similar written notice to all such owners is not possible, the notary shall post a notice in a public place. The notice must inform the owners of the planned meeting's agenda and specify all items to be voted on. Subsequent meetings may be called in the same manner or by a commissioner or board appointed at a previous meeting pursuant to subsection 5 6.
3. E-mail. E-mail may be used as an alternative to United States mail for sending notices and other materials under this section with the agreement of the receiving party as long as the communication includes the current address and telephone number of the sender for purposes of verification.
4. Voting. Each parcel of land benefited by a private road, private way or bridge represents one vote under this section; except that, if the bylaws of the association authorize more than one vote, then each parcel may represent no more than 2 votes under this subsection. The call to a meeting may state that an owner may elect to appoint another owner to vote in the owner's stead. Owners voting by absentee ballot must be polled on all voting items that were not included in the agenda and the final tally must be reported to the owners.
5. Road Associations Duly Formed under Section 3101. Road Associations through their commissioner or board may address present and future repair and maintenance of said private road, private way or bridge until such time as the association is dissolved by a majority vote of its members.
6. Commissioner or board; repair and maintenance assessment. The owners of parcels of land benefited by a private road, private way or bridge at a meeting called pursuant to subsection 2 may choose a commissioner or board, to be sworn. By a majority vote, the owners may determine what repairs and maintenance are necessary and the materials to be furnished or amount of money to be paid by each owner for repairs and maintenance. The determination of each owner's share of the total cost must be fair and equitable.
The commissioner or board shall report the outcome of all votes to all the owners by United States mail within 30 days. Special assessments for emergency repairs and maintenance may be made at a duly held meeting called for that purpose. Emergency repairs and maintenance are those actions necessary to maintain or restore the functionality of the private road, private way or bridge.
7. Easements. The owners of parcels of land benefited by a private road, private way or bridge or the commissioner or board chosen by the owners may negotiate easements for the installation of ditches, drains, culverts and other stormwater management practices. These easements must specify when ditches, drains, culverts and stormwater management practices must be maintained and include reasonable performance standards to guide the timing and extent of their upkeep and repair.
The easements must also be recorded at the registry of deeds in the county in which the property is located. Such ditches, drains, culverts or stormwater management practices shall be under the control of, and maintained by said owners association, commissioner, board or their designee(s).
8. Commercial or forest management purposes. This section does not apply to a private road, private way or bridge constructed or primarily used for commercial or forest management purposes.
§ 3102. Commissioner's or board's duties; neglect of owners to pay
The commissioner or board chosen under section 3101, with respect to the private road, private way or bridge, has the powers of a road commissioner. If any owner, on requirement of the commissioner or board, neglects to furnish that owner's proportion of labor, materials or money, the same may be furnished by the other owners and recovered of the owner neglecting to pay in a civil action, together with costs of suit and reasonable attorney's fees. The commissioner's or board's apportioning of the cost of repairs to the road undertaken pursuant to the provisions of section 3101 may not exceed 1% of an individual owner's property valuation in any calendar year.
§ 3103. Contracts for repair; assessments
The owners, at a meeting held under section 3101, may by a majority vote authorize a contract to be made for making repairs to and maintaining the private road, private way or bridge by the year or for a lesser time and may raise money for that purpose pursuant to section 3101, subsection 5. The commissioner or board shall collect the money as town taxes are collected, and is liable for neglect of duty as town collectors are for similar neglects.
§ 3104. Penalties and process
Money recovered under sections 3102 and 3103 is for the use of the owners. In any process for its recovery, a description of the owners in general terms as owners of parcels of land benefited by the private road, private way or bridge, clearly describing the private road, private way or bridge, is sufficient. Such process is not abated by the death of any owner or by the transfer of any owner's interest.
§ 3105. Use of town equipment
The inhabitants of any town or village corporation at a legal town or village corporation meeting may authorize the selectmen of the town or assessors of the village corporation to use its highway equipment on private ways within such town or village corporation, whenever such selectmen or assessors deem it advisable in the best interests of the town or village corporation for fire and police protection and water quality protection.
All copyrights and other rights to statutory text are reserved by the State of Maine. The text included in this publication reflects changes made through the First Special Session of the 123rd Legislature, and is current through December 31, 2008, but is subject to change without notice. It is a version that has not been officially certified by the Secretary of State. Refer to the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated and supplements for certified text.