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Old 01-14-2010, 07:46 PM
 
1,061 posts, read 1,695,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
"Any idea what happens if a visitor has an accident on a private road, whom he might sue--possibly by saying the road was dangerous because of improper maintenance or faulty design?"

Glad you asked. In Maine if you enter onto somebody else's property for recreational purposes you do so at your own risk. If you fall over his barbed wire fence, drive into his ditch, hit his fallen tree while on your snowmobile or fall out of a tree stand you are on your own. The landowner is not responsible for you. That is the biggest reason you can ride around all day and never see a "No Trespassing" sign. If you don't like the looks of a private road, don't drive on it. In fact, please don't drive on it in the spring before the frost is out of the ground. It costs money to maintain a road and every year private roads are vandalized by people trying to see if they can get stuck.

Don't worry about who you can sue. You won't get anywhere.
I had heard about that with respect to land, but I wasn't sure if the same law applied to private roads--it's great that it does.

Down here if, for example, you store your boat in your own backyard, you can be liable if the neigbor's kid sneaks into your backyard and hurts himself breaking into your boat.

The law rationalzes this by deeming your boat on your own land as an 'attractive nusiance"--in other words, it wasn't the kid's fault because the boat made him do it.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Woolwich, ME
162 posts, read 334,640 times
Reputation: 201
All great answers. I just have one thing to add, about getting your private road to be a public road. You need to get an engineering report to say the road meets all town standards, as mentioned above. In my town, Woolwich, you then need to get 10% of the eligible voters in town to sign a petition to put it on the annual town meeting warrant to have it become a town road. Then it gets voted on at town meeting. In prior years it's been pretty routine that these things have been approved. Last year, no. The one subdivision road up for vote got turned down. A lot of people wanted to vote no on anything optional that cost any money. Most of the people in the subdivision were young newcomers to town and the debate got a little ugly with some longtime residents making remarks about the newbies knowing it was a private road when they bought and shouldn't try to take advantage of everybody in town by expecting the town to take care of them. The point I took away from last year's meeting was that I wouldn't waste time and effort trying to get a private road to be a town road until the economy gets better.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,815 posts, read 4,268,283 times
Reputation: 1240
Good point, this is why you (or your agent) needs to check with the town office before writing an offer or add it as a contingency and give yourself time to verify. In my particular sub-division the road was built to town specifications and the developer and town already had an agreement in place to turn the road over once certain benchmarks were reached. This may be true on the Gray sub-division that the OP is referring to.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:17 PM
 
2 posts, read 16,751 times
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Default Thanks

Thanks to everyone for the valuable information and opinions.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
2,776 posts, read 6,966,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by American girl View Post


Ditto what Acadia Lion says. We live on a private road with no association. It's every man for himself. Some won't pay the plow guy a cent or contribute to the twice yearly grading - and the guy is a neighbor on the road. To bring the road up to code would costs tens of thousands of dollars with no guarantee that the city will take it over.

Some folks who have purchased property on the road have been told that it's a city maintained road so it's best to do lots of research before you buy.

We knew all that up front but we really, really wanted to live on the water. We have a 4WD and were willing to put a plow on it if we needed to and we have a tractor. We're the last year round place on the road and we treat our plow guy very respectfully and always pay on time.

If you do decide to buy on a private road with no association keep in mind that the topic of road maintenance can quickly become heated and will be an ongoing concern to all....except the ones who don't pay. For them you wish for blizzards LOL

Geez, yours sounds like our situation. The DH and I were to "plow guys" for nearly 20 years without a cent....the truck gave out about three years after we finally got a little assistance from neighbors. Now someone else is the last house on the road and they have taken over plow duties without the same dedication we used to muster. The last two winters we've already paid him more than we have collectively gotten from the rest of our neighbors previously. Be warned!!!
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:11 PM
JC3
 
296 posts, read 707,970 times
Reputation: 355
If you are going into a subdivision, I am suprised if there wouldn't be some type of association to address such issues. To get a road public isn't easy, it needs to meet requirements of which I don't know. If you are in an association, I will speak for ours, the annual dues is for road maintenance and plowing. Our pres takes care of that with our input on competing bids. We are presently looking into the legal part that someone mentioned about anyone who gets injured on a private road. We may end up having to do something about that. Still awaiting to hear about it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:33 PM
 
Location: On a Slow-Sinking Granite Rock Up North
3,637 posts, read 5,263,433 times
Reputation: 2650
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlmya View Post
I am looking into buying a home on a private road in Gray. I need to do more research (i.e., speak to someone in charge of the road association about fees, maintenance, etc.) but does anyone have any insight into private roads and the nuances that come with living on one? Why would a road be private and how can you get them to be public? We have a camp on a private road but that is a little difference. This is a year round subdivision.
Thanks for any information.

Personally, and only in my opinion, after having seeing first-hand the mess that these situations can become, I'd find a house in a subdivision with a public road. I'd also make sure to read each and every line of fine print if there are covenants' in any subdivision I was looking to move into.

Good luck.

Last edited by cebdark; 01-19-2010 at 02:33 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:01 AM
 
Location: maine/alabama
169 posts, read 478,382 times
Reputation: 161
i, with a couple of partners, develop small casual sub-divisions in hancock county (4-9-6-11 lots, etc.). we always build the road to the standards set by the local planning boards. there are usually about 6 simple covenants.

having seen the nightmare side of earlier developments by others without road associations we spell out each owners share of cost (that and all other pertinent information are put in the deed and recorded)and get $1,000 to $2,000 at closing and put it in escrow as initial dues in the association. we have been doing this for 10 years and have yet to hear any complaint from anyone.

when its working well like that we know that putting things in place before hand make it reasonable for all.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:03 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,050,745 times
Reputation: 1505
Around here there can be good and bad felings with private roads. To reduce town liability, the town dumped all the roads they could which only makes sense.

On one road some hippy built way back in the woods, put up a tee-pee and then wanted the town to spend 100 grand to put a road back to his place. That turned very ugly with a few tee-pee fires that finally drove him out of town for good. (He got the message apparently that he was not wanted in these parts)

But on another road, the road association works very well. They have a nice, passable road that has not cost the town a dime, and yet the nice houses on it get taxed nicely! I admire them for what they built and maintained and have got a deecnt life without impovering the rest of the town on their secluded choice of where to live. Good for them (and hene no fires in the middle of the night even though they are from away) :-)
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:43 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,400 times
Reputation: 10
Can a Road Maintenance Association exist if they are not incorporated and do not file tax returns. We have one that is not doing either and sued for payment; won and now we cannot pay them because they do not have a checking account in the association name. They are using a member of the associations personal account to pay for our maintenance costs. Does any one know if this is legal. Does your title insurance make sure the association is properly documented?
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