Discontinuance - 23 MRSA 3026-A

What is Maine law regarding discontinuance of Town ways?  

The applicable laws can be found below.  For further explanation, go to the Discontinued Rd tab.  NOTE:  This section became law in 2016, and replaced section 3026, which appears at the bottom of this page.  Section 3028, Abandonment, apparently did not get amended to reflect this change, and as of this writing still refers to the old section 3026, which no longer exists.


§3026-A. Discontinuance of town ways

A municipality may terminate in whole or in part any interests held by it for highway purposes. A municipality discontinuing a town way or public easement in this State must meet the following requirements. [2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).]
1. Notification of discontinuance to abutting property owners.   The municipal officers shall give best practicable notice to all abutting property owners of a proposed discontinuance of a town way or public easement. As used in this subsection, "best practicable notice" means, at minimum, the mailing by the United States Postal Service, postage prepaid, first class, of notice to abutting property owners whose addresses appear in the assessment records of the municipality.
2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW) .]
2. Municipal officers meet to discuss proposed discontinuance and file order of discontinuance.   The municipal officers shall discuss a proposed discontinuance of a town way or public easement at a public meeting and file an order of discontinuance with the municipal clerk that specifies:
A. The location of the town way or public easement; [2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).]
B. The names of abutting property owners; [2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).]
C. The amount of damages, if any, determined by the municipal officers to be paid to each abutting property owner; and [2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).]
D. Whether or not a public easement is retained. [2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).]
If a proposal includes the discontinuance of a public easement, that must be stated explicitly in the order of discontinuance; otherwise, the public easement is retained. If a public easement is retained, all other interests of the municipality in the discontinued way, if any, pass to abutting property owners to the center of the way. If a public easement is not retained, all interests of the municipality in the discontinued way pass to abutting property owners to the center of the way.
2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW) .]
3. Public hearing.   The municipal officers shall hold a public hearing on the order of discontinuance of a town way or public easement filed pursuant to subsection 2.
2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW) .]
4. Approval of order of discontinuance and damage awards.   Ten or more business days after the public hearing pursuant to subsection 3, the municipal legislative body must vote upon the order of discontinuance submitted to it:
A. To approve the order of discontinuance and the damage awards and to appropriate the money to pay the damages; or [2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).]
B. To disapprove the order of discontinuance. [2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).]
2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW) .]
5. Certificate of discontinuance filed.   The municipal clerk shall record an attested certificate of discontinuance after a vote by the municipal legislative body under subsection 4 in the registry of deeds. The certificate must describe the town way or public easement and the final action by the municipal legislative body. The date the certificate is filed is the date the town way or public easement is discontinued. The registry of deeds shall record a certificate of discontinuance under the name of the town way or public easement, the name of the municipality and the names of the abutting property owners. The municipal clerk shall provide a photocopy of the certificate to the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Maintenance and Operations.
2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW) .]
6. Utility easement.   An easement for public utility facilities necessary to provide or maintain service remains in a discontinued town way regardless of whether a public easement is retained. Upon approval by a municipal legislative body of an order to discontinue a town way and retain a public easement, unless otherwise stated in the order, all remaining interests of the municipality, if any, pass to the abutting property owners in fee simple to the center of the way.
2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
2015, c. 464, §5 (NEW).
§3024. Recording of proceedings
No taking of property or interests therein by a municipality, or the discontinuance of a town way except by abandonment, after September 12, 1959, shall be valid against owners of record or abutting landowners who have not received actual notice, unless there is recorded in the registry of deeds for the county where the land lies either a deed, or a certificate attested by the municipal clerk, describing the property and stating the final action of the municipality with respect to it. [1975, c. 711, §8(NEW).]
SECTION HISTORY
1975, c. 711, §8 (NEW)

§3029. Damages; appeal
Damages shall be determined using the methods in sections 154 through 154E, as far as practicable, except that references to the "commission" or the "board" shall mean the "municipal officers" and references to the "state" shall mean the "municipality." [1977, c. 479, §5 (AMD).]

Any person aggrieved by the determination of the damages awarded to owners of property or interests therein under this chapter may, within 60 days after the day of taking, appeal to the Superior Court in the county where the property lies. The court shall determine damages by a verdict of its jury or, if all parties agree, by the court without a jury or by a referee or referees and shall render judgment for just compensation, with interest where such is due, and for costs in favor of the party entitled thereto. [1975, c. 711, §8 (NEW).]

Any person aggrieved by the action or nonaction of municipal officers or the municipal legislative body in proceedings under this chapter, other than a determination of damages, may appeal to the Superior Court in the county where the property lies, pursuant to Rule 80B of the Rules of Civil Procedure. [1975, c. 711, §8 (NEW).]

SECTION HISTORY
1975, c. 711, §8 (NEW). 1977, c. 479, §5 (AMD).

PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF SECTION 3026-A in the year 2015, discontinuances were governed by the following:

23 MRSA§3026. Discontinuance of town ways (Repealed and replaced by 3026-A)
1. General procedures.  A municipality may terminate in whole or in part any interests held by it for highway purposes. A municipality may discontinue a town way or public easement after the municipal officers have given best practicable notice to all abutting property owners and the municipal planning board or office and have filed an order of discontinuance with the municipal clerk that specifies the location of the way, the names of abutting property owners and the amount of damages, if any, determined by the municipal officers to be paid to each abutter.
Upon approval of the discontinuance order by the legislative body, and unless otherwise stated in the order, a public easement shall, in the case of town ways, be retained and all remaining interests of the municipality shall pass to the abutting property owners to the center of the way. For purposes of this section, the words"public easement" shall include, without limitation, an easement for public utility facilities necessary to provide service.
[ 1981, c. 683, §1 (NEW) .]
2. Definition of best practicable notice.  "Best practicable notice" means, at minimum, the mailing by the United States Postal Service, postage prepaid, first class, of notice to abutting property owners whose addresses appear in the assessment records of the municipality.
[ 1981, c. 683, §1 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1975, c. 711, §8 (NEW). 1977, c. 301, §1 (AMD). 1981, c. 683, §1 (RPR).

2 comments:

  1. New vineyard does what they want they do not follow the law check the town records and you'll see

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  2. A lot of towns have not followed the law regarding discontinuance. In the past, this was often blamed on the fact that the law was confusing and hard to follow. That was the reasoning behind repealing section 3026 last year (2016) and replacing it with 3026-A. The new law is intended to spell out the procedure so clearly that towns will now have little excuse for getting it wrong. But chances are, some towns will continue to mess it up, perhaps not even being aware that the law has changed. I'd suggest printing it out and handing it to them.

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