Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Our road association is a statutory association located in Somerset County. There is a total of 30 parcels/lots in the subdivision. Our current bylaws allow “one vote per parcel” for any item voted on. In the case of multiple lots being owned (seven parcels by a non-resident owner; another resident owns 4 parcels, one of which is developed; a third resident owns 3 lots, one of which is developed).
Our bylaws as written, present the possibility that the three owners of multiple lots can easily pass or override any items presented for a vote.
I believe that our bylaws should be amended to state “each lot owner will have one vote”.
How do other road associations handle voting by owners with multiple lots?
The Private Ways Statute, §3101, subparagraph 4. Voting, begins: “Each parcel of land…represents one vote under this section; …”
The MARA Board has recently been considering how subparagraph 4. Voting, should be handled in practice and have asked Attorneys Denison and Cunningham for confirmation of what follows.
The key here is in the definition of a "parcel". Attorney Cliff Goodall has stated, "A parcel that constitutes the operative ownership piece for this statute is something that can be defined by each Road Association. …” (MARA Resources Page, Item 7, Cliff Goodall's Talk). If this is the case, then the owners in each road association can arrive at a definition that meets their needs.
In my statutory road association which has 10 parcels , 1 owner has three lots, 2 others have 2 lots, and the remaining owners have one each. It made sense to us to limit the voting power of each owner so that we might have a "fair and equitable" majority vote. Here is the definition we approved in our by-laws:
"A parcel as defined herein will include property that meets at least one of the following criteria: 1. A single property (lot) representing sole ownership interest in the Association. 2. Multiple properties with an owner in common. 3. Any property that contains a dwelling unit comprised of a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Property meeting two of the above will be defined by criterion 3."
We assess a parcel without a dwelling unit at 1/2 share. I hope this helps.
I agree, and think that the above definition of "parcel" is a good one. Our road association had, for a while, one owner with a subdivision divided into multiple lots. None of the lots was developed. We debated whether the owner should get multiple votes under the statute, but that didn't seem fair to the rest of the members, especially in view of the fact that he was one of our habitual non-payers. We also reasoned that if he got one vote per lot, he should also pay one assessment per lot, and it seemed highly unlikely that we would be able to collect. He didn't show up to exercise his one vote, but if we had charged him per lot and given him a vote for each lot, it seems to me he would have been a lot more likely to come and try to outvote the rest of us so as to get his dues reduced, as the unpaid amount on multiple lots would have piled up at a phenomenal rate. As it was, each time he sold a lot he paid up the back fees for one parcel, and that lot became a regular payer. He would then start accumulating back fees on one parcel once again. Eventually he sold his last lot. We now have a few people who own two lots, but that's because they want the extra privacy of owning more land. As far as I know, none of them intends to have more than one dwelling on their land, so under the definition suggested above, they will continue to qualify as one parcel.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations