|Home > Maine Law > A Little History|
History of the Private Ways Statute
Maine's Private Ways law has been around a long time, having been originally passed by the First Legislature in 1821. There have been a few changes over the years, but the current law still resembles the original one passed immediately after Maine gained Statehood.
1949 amendment [PDF] Amendment to allow towns to authorize the use of its highway equipment to maintain private ways.
1951 amendment [PDF] Amendment to allow towns and villages to authorize the use of its highway equipment to maintain private ways.
1954 recodifcation [PDF] Modernized language
1961 amendment [PDF] Minor changes to wording regarding neglect of owners to pay
1995 amendment [PDF] Replaced references to Justice of the Peace with Notary Public
1997 amendment [PDF] Modernized language; extended meeting notice period; narrowed applicability of statute to land parcels which own a road or have an easement on a road; allows collection of costs and attorney's fees if owner negelcts to pay; clarifies that process for collection is not abated by death of owner
1999 amendment [PDF] Defines "repairs" as excluing paving except in certain circumstances; limits annual owner assessment to not exceed 1% of owner's property valuation
2005 amendment [PDF] Required assessments to be in proportion to the valuation for property taxes
2007 amendment (Ch. 162) [PDF] Further refines definition of "repairs" regarding pavement
2007 amendment (Ch. 526) [PDF] Defines "maintenance" to include snowplowing; Allowed assessments to be determined by any fair and equitable method; permits use of email as a means of communication; association may permit 1 or 2 cotes per parcel; permits proxy voting; permits absentee voting; permits election of a board; exempts roads used primarily for commercial or forest management purposes
2009 amendment [PDF] Grants limited immunity to road association directors, commissioners and volunteers.
2009 amendment [PDF] Removes obsolete public posting requirement; allows association to exist perpetually, unless dissolved by majority vote; permits an association to obtain easements; expands on the ability of towns to opt to use its highway equipment to maintain private ways