2. What is the problem?

The Town needs a mechanism (ordinance) to address the access rights of these town plowed private ways by municipal vehicles during winter months, the responsibility of landowners to perform annual/summer maintenance during the year, storm water management drainage issues, the insurability of municipal vehicles on Town plowed private ways and the lack of local road associations to address private way needs.    Current law does not provide a mechanism for addressing any of the above issues or unforeseen future challenges.   In 1989 the Maine Supreme Court issued an “Opinion of the Justices” stating that it would be unconstitutional for a town to use town funds for the private purpose of maintaining a private way.   Many towns throughout the state of Maine stopped when that occurred.  Windham attempted to address these problems through agreements with property owners, but that practice was not effective Simply put, the Town cannot legally continue to plow private ways unless the owners of those ways have given the Town the right to do so through grant of a public easement.

As you read through this Q & A, for the sake of clarity, all references “Private Ways” refer to private ways currently plowed by the town,  as identified on the list of 101 roads.

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1. 1. Why did the Town request Private and Special legislation 1723 for Windham?
2. 2. What is the problem?
3. 3. Why did this practice start, and what is the history of Windham plowing private ways?
4. 4. What is the best solution?
5. 5. If I live on a private road which is not plowed by the Town does this affect my property?
6. 6. If I live on a private way which is plowed by the Town does this affect my property?
7. 7. What do owners on private ways need to do in order for the Town to continue plowing?
8. 8. What does "public easement" mean?
9. 9. If my private way has a road association, do I need to do anything?
10. 10. If my private way road does not have a road association, do I need to do anything?
11. 11. What does a road association provide and/or do?
12. 12. What is the responsibility of the residents in these road associations?
13. 13. We have decided to form a road association. Is a non-profit approach best?
14. 14. What are the necessary steps to get organized if we do not have a road association?
15. 15. There is a lot of information to understand. Will the Town provide legal advice or guidance to move through this process swiftly?
16. 16. Who pays for this new road association and the ongoing cost of annual road maintenance?
17. 17. Do each of the identified town plowed private ways or areas have to form a Road Association or HOA?
18. 18. What if we as a road group cannot find a point of contact to organize the step-by-step process to set up the road association and subsequent obligations, or desire not to be involved?
19. 19. What are the private way road tallies, associations or not?
20. 20. We live on a private road not on the listing provided by the Town's website. Can we have our road added to the winter maintenance list?
21. 21. What if a road or area no longer wants to have the Town plow the road and does not want to comply with the basic road maintenance?
22. 22. Is there a listing of addresses on each private way road and a map?
23. 23. What is the cost of road improvements that may be necessary?
24. 24. Where can I find the Ordinance that was adopted regarding these Town Plowed private ways?
25. 25. Is my Private Road or Private Way defined in the Town Ordinances?
26. 26. How does LD 192 “An Act to Define the Responsibilities of Residential Property Owners for the Maintenance of and Repair of Private Roads” affect the Windham?
27. 27. Is there a check off list or summary description of items the Town will be reviewing for basic maintenance?
28. 28. Will the Street sign change from a private way sign to a public sign?
29. Summary