Massachusetts contains thousands of private streets and ways; on and along those ways innumerable residents of this Commonwealth live. We know that the Derelict Fee Statute operates to resolve ownership questions regarding these private ways. However, the "statute pertains only to the question of ownership of the fee [in a private way]"; it does not govern use, maintenance, or other rights and/or obligations over a way, which, for the purposes of this blog post, fall within the province of the common law of easements. Adams v. Planning Bd. of Westwood, 64 Mass. App. Ct. 383, 389 (2005).
We ran across this news the other day, and thought it was an interesting approach for landowners looking to fund and coordinate the maintenance of private ways.
For landowners abutting a private way, obligations regarding maintenance and repair of the way depend on who owns the fee in the private way. These obligations include things like snow removal, re-paving, proper drainage and other maintenance issues.