Residents find flaws in proposed Wareham road bylaw

By Andrea Ray | Mar 13, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray Edward Pacewicz questions the terms of the proposed Unaccepted Way Bylaw Revision.

Residents of Wareham’s "unaccepted" roads are facing a choice: pay for the materials needed to repair their roads, or opt out of the town maintaining those roads at all.

The Town of Wareham Road Commissioners held a forum Monday night to get public input on a proposed Unaccepted Way bylaw revision, which would offer residents living on unaccepted roads the option of maintenance by Wareham’s Municipal Maintenance Department.

“Unaccepted” roads in this instance refer to roads which, for various reasons, are not yet eligible for acceptance by the town. Most unaccepted roads are open to the public with no obstructions, and look no different than accepted roads through the town.

Others, marked "private" are not eligible for town maintenance under the proposed bylaw. The private signage may be removed, but even after that, there is a 12-month moratorium before town maintenance will begin. Currently 531 roads in Wareham are unaccepted, of 977 total named streets. The hearing dealt mainly with the unaccepted roads open to the public, which are not currently maintained by the town.

The maintenance in question includes grading roads, tree trimming and snow plowing. The bylaw also proposes a "revolving fund" which will allow the director of Municipal Maintenance to draw funds for unaccepted road repair. The funds will be generated from billings to abutters of unaccepted roads.

Wareham Road Commission Chair Bill Heaney explained the proposed bylaw and asked for constructive criticism from those at the well-attended hearing. There had been rumbles of concern when Heaney told the audience that under the terms of the proposed bylaw, they would be responsible for any material costs incurred during repair. Any costs would be split evenly between the resident abutters of the road needing repair.

“Do we have the option of vetoing the cost if it’s too expensive?” asked Edward Pacewicz.

“Well, no, not under the terms set out here,” said Heaney.

“So the town can come in, say they need to do repairs, and charge me without my consent?” echoed Peter Barrows. “I pay taxes. Why do the people on the accepted roads not have to pay for materials and we do?”

Heaney told him those were the terms, but that if 51 percent of the street wanted to opt out of the bylaw, they were free to do so by submitting signatures to the Road Commission. “You don’t have to be a part of it, but the program is meant to repair roads, which is what the bylaw is created for,” said Heaney.

Wareham Town Moderator Claire Smith explained that 20 years ago the town did maintain unaccepted roads.

“At one point there was a lawsuit nearby, and the state clamped down, as the ruling is that you can’t use town money on unaccepted streets," she said. "If there was room in the town budget for maintenance of the unaccepted roads, it would be accepted, because the money would have been raised properly.”

Selectman Alan Slavin agreed.

“We did use Chapter 90 funds,” he said. “We were trying to do a good thing, but we weren’t supposed to do it. We got caught.”

Several attendees questioned how, if their street chose to opt out of the program, emergency services would get down the unplowed roads.

“If you choose to opt out, I think it’s a good idea to have a plan for how the roads will be plowed,” said Police Chief Kevin Walsh. “But that’s an emergency, we aren’t going to pass by because the roads are unplowed. We call a town snow plow and follow them in.”

Suggestions abounded for modifying the bylaw, most concerning resident approval of costs. Pacewicz offered the idea of a maximum cost, of which anything higher would need to be approved by the resident abutters of the road.

The question of why the unaccepted roads weren’t simply accepted was raised. Heaney explained that the roads, as of a law passed recently, required very stringent qualifications, and it would take a lot of time and expense to bring all of the roads up to par.

The bylaw is up for public vote at Wareham’s Town Meeting on April 24.


Comments (53)
Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 14, 2017 07:38

If 51% of abutters say yes, do the job and put tax lien on those that don't pay. If 51% say no then they maintain and plow their own road. Where is the issue?  There is none, its a private road, now deal with it like everyone else on a private road.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 14, 2017 14:49

An attempt is made to describe what an unaccepted road is every time this topic makes the paper.  There is still confusion regarding accepted vs. unaccepted vs. private.  Who can throw out a few street names of each that will help?


531 unaccepted / 977 total = 54% unaccepted.  More than half of our roads are unaccepted.  That's unacceptable (no pun intended).  How can it be that high?


Here it states "Most unaccepted roads are open to the public with no obstructions, and look no different than accepted roads through the town." Is a realtor supposed to disclose that to a person before they buy a home?  How does the average person know that the possibility even exists to not be on an accepted road.  Most have never heard of such a thing.


It is hard to grasp that someone can pay $500,000 for a house on a paved road with telephone poles, streetlights, electricity, cable, water, sewer, gas, storm drains, and fire-hydrants and then have to swallow this technicality.       

Posted by: Keith Lefrancois | Mar 14, 2017 15:34

An example might be Lynn Road and Bachant Way off of Swifts beach Road. This was a new development as of 2004. These streets were made new, and when the idea of unaccepted roads not being plowed was first mentioned, we looked into ours. We are an HOA development. Well, we found out that we had "unaccepted" roads, even though they looked great and were fairly new. We had to pay to have them evaluated by an engineer to see what it would take to make them accepted, and approved by the town. We did, and made repairs to the streets, at a shared cost to all in the development. This went back and forth a few times with the town though, as they seemed to always find something. In the end, they are not accepted, but had to be "repaired" at a shared cost of those living on the streets.


Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Mar 14, 2017 16:10

Lynne Road and Bachant Way were both accepted by the Town at the 2015 Spring Town Meeting.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 14, 2017 16:32

Thanks Keith for the examples and thanks Peter for the info.  It is good that they were accepted after 11 years.  Those are perfect examples of what I was getting at.  It's hard to believe that streets in neighborhoods like those were ever unaccepted.  One thinks unaccepted applies to dirt roads in cottage neighborhoods or dirt roads in the woods.


Question:  Do other towns have this problem?

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Mar 14, 2017 18:10

54% unaccepted roads in the town?  This is ridiculous.  How did the number get that big in the first place?  What are the criteria?


Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Mar 14, 2017 19:13

54% of the named streets may be private ways, but approximately 120 of the 200 miles of Wareham roads and streets are accepted public ways.  The list is here:


In order to create a public way, the Selectmen have to be petitioned by the owners along the roadway to ask Town Meeting for permission to "lay out the way."  There's a multi-step process involved, including a report on the condition of the roadway prepared by the Planning Board.  The process and application are somewhere on the Town website, but my power is out and searching for it on my phone isn't going so well.


There are several reasons why roadways might not be accepted public ways, ranging from the desire of the residents to retain full control of their roads, substandard construction of the roadways that would be too costly to bring up to snuff (a million dollars per mile gets expensive fast), an agreement between the developer and the Planning Board that a homeowner's association is responsible for the roads (this should be in the deed from the developer to the purchaser), the improper release by the Town of road construction bonds to developers before roadwork is complete (this unfortunately has happened in the past), Town Meeting shot the request to lay out the way down (there was a spell of nearly a decade I believe when no streets were accepted), and simply the lack of knowledge by residents that their road is a private way (yet another reason to hire your own attorney when purchasing real estate!).





Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 15, 2017 06:40

Thanks again Peter, you know this topic quite well.  There is a lot of potential for complication.


Not everybody may want their road repaired if they personally have no issue with the problem.  For example, I was proactive and purchased a 4 wheel drive truck because my unaccepted road isn't the best.  I don't mind it at all.  If I owned the road myself I wouldn't fix it.  Why should I be forced to split the bill because somebody else chooses to fix it?


Same with plowing.  Why would a seasonal resident that owns a cottage that's shut down in the winter pay for plowing?

Posted by: barnstorm | Mar 15, 2017 07:32

WBTS is spot on with posts on this issue. It appears that the builders and realtors who built and sold these 531 homes did not make an effort to inform the buyers of this town issue and bylaw. Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse and the buyer must beware. Lot of blame to go around for this complicated mess.

Posted by: cranky pants | Mar 15, 2017 07:35

Tax the sale of recreational marijuana and watch the town revenue spring ten fold... Plenty of money for road repairs.

Then again they would be installing bump-outs and cobble stone sidewalks all over the place.

Posted by: Richard Swenson | Mar 15, 2017 08:31

for your reading pleasure...




Winter Maintenance Policy on Private Roads


Winter maintenance of private, non-accepted roads - Annual time frame for implementation


Private road winter maintenance petition form

Posted by: WWareham resident | Mar 15, 2017 11:02

As I look through the list of "accepted" roads in town I am at a loss to find my street on this list. There are 13 homes on this cul-du-sac and the last one occupied, by my wife and myself in 2005, has been plowed by the town for the past 11 years. I have never seen a police officer on this side of town, let alone on our street, unless they were called in and with the plows coming down when we do have snow leads me to believe Griffin Way should be on the list of accepted roads but is not. Could it be Cornerstone Properties, who owned the property and sold off lots to multiple builders, did some kind of deal with the town like mentioned in the article but was not disclosed to the homeowners?

It worries me that we are not on the list and correct me if I am wrong but does this now mean that moving forward the homeowners will have to pay a 3rd party to plow our street or one of the neighbors with a plow on their truck would have to take over maintaining the plowing but if something more drastic were to happen like a sink hole or anything quite frankly, do we now have to pay out of pocket for repairs?

Everyone who lives on a road not listed on the PDF should go to the meeting and make our voices heard, I will be there as will as few of our neighbors because if we are considered a private road that is news to me and we've been here 11 years.

Posted by: cranky pants | Mar 15, 2017 12:40

I see my road is on the dreaded list...

Does that mean I can cable off my road and give my neighbors keys so we can make it private access only ?

Posted by: Andrea Ray | Mar 15, 2017 13:23

WWareham Resident,

I didn't include this information as it was not part of the discussion Monday night. However, according to the bylaw draft, certain town roads remain 'unaccepted' yet are maintained by the town due to individual agreements with the Town Planning and Zoning Boards. These agreements supersede the proposed bylaw. It may be that your road has an individual provision for maintenance in place.

The text of the proposed bylaw is listed on the town's website, here.


Posted by: WWareham resident | Mar 15, 2017 16:18

Andrea, thank you for that clarification. The list that is on that PDF are PUBLIC and town maintained, correct? I ask because I see Cranky Pants comment that their road is on the list and they ask if they can cable it off for private access only so I just want to be sure what I am reading.


Thank you again

Posted by: Andrea Ray | Mar 15, 2017 16:56

WWareham Resident,

The accepted roads on the PDF are all town-maintained roads and accessible to the public. Any roads specifically marked as private, or which have some type of obstruction such as a gate are, from what I understand, considered unaccepted. They would fall under this bylaw, with the added provision that the private designation or obstruction would need to be removed for one year before town maintenance could begin.

Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Mar 15, 2017 20:53

Actually, any roads not on the list are private ways, regardless of whether they are so marked.  Many non-accepted roads in Wareham are open to public use and have normal-looking street signs, and without the list you wouldn't actually be able to distinguish them from public ways.

Posted by: Cindy | Mar 16, 2017 07:03

In response to Wareham by the Sea:  In Bourne, the unaccepted town roads are subject to a physical review each summer/fall by the town's facilities manager, the dpw director and the police chief.  They notify those residents of those streets if the street has repair issues and they are given the option, at their own cost,  to bring the streets up to 'plowable' status (dpw tells you what needs to get done in order for plow to come by).  At the appointed date in the season, if it is not done, the town makes the assumption you, as a street, are not interested in getting plowed and passes you by.  That being said, as Chief Walsh indicated, if there is an emergency call on your street, the police are going to follow the plow in at the time of call.  Hope this sheds some light on how another town does it.

Posted by: greycat | Mar 16, 2017 21:50

something doesn't smell right.  Everyone in town pays taxes, a portion of which goes to street care of one nature or another.  Everyone who owns a car pays an excise tax on the vehicle, a portion of which probably goes to road maintenance.  Everyone who puts fuel into a vehicle pays a federal and state highway tax plus a state sales tax.  The highway use tax is supposed to help pay for road maintenance, not MBTA retirement funds.

Our governments, at all levels, are hot and heavy on PUBLIC SAFETY.  Ambulances, fire trucks and police cars must use the unimproved roads. It is not only snow removal but huge potholes, exposed tree roots, puddles, and soft sand that can impede the response of these vehicles.  A slow response is not good for a heart attack, an unwanted guest or a fire.

I don't think anyone actually expects the town to grade and pave all the unaccepted roads.  There is no money.  It's all in the BIG DIG.  However, I see no reason that the town could not run the grader up and down the roads, scrape some of the berms off the sides wherever it may be possible, compact them with a roller, and at least make them passable.  A few gallons of diesel fuel and a couple of truckloads of gravel cannot be beyond the capabilities of the town.


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 17, 2017 10:47

Cindy,  thanks.  I always prefer not to reinvent the wheel.  That is why I asked how other towns handle this.  Maybe Wareham should adopt another town's policy and/or combine multiple towns' policies. Bourne's method seems good.  It still all comes down to the cost per residence and their willingness to pay.  Some may be 100% willing to pay.  Some may be 100% against.  Some may want the repairs but can't afford.  Some may be able to afford but do not want the repairs.


Having said that, the extra time it takes EMS to call a plow and then follow it in may be a matter of life and death.  Definitely a big consideration.  We all run that risk a little every time it snows, accepted road or not.  I've been snowed-in for several hours simply because the plow hasn't got to us yet.  In the case of an unplowed unaccepted road, the snow can build up after each snowfall over time and freeze, making plowing for EMS vehicle difficult & slow.


Many scenarios...not an easy fix.

Posted by: cranberry scoop | Mar 22, 2017 22:34

This is all backwards. “Unaccepted roads open to the public”. A more fitting name would be “Roads neglected by the town.” A long time ago the town decided to stop paving its roads, even though half of them were not finished. We are all tax payers. Those who have endured sub- par roads have suffered long enough. Townspeople drive up and down the street all day long. The responsibility for upgrading and maintaining any service utilized by the entire town has never been placed on the adjacent taxpayers. Especially in the case where the resident does not own the road, they are no more responsible for it’s upkeep than anyone else who drives on it. If there are any attorneys in town who live on unaccepted roads, I would like to hear from you on this

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 23, 2017 09:10

What would happen if everybody that owns property on an unaccepted road applies for an abatement? 531 roads worth of abatements would certainly inundate our assessors but it appears to make sense to do so.


An unaccepted road is a negative attribute.  Negative attributes reduce the value of a property.  Why should someone on an unaccepted road pay the same property taxes as a comparable property on an accepted road when the potential exists for them to pay unknown additional fees (taxes) to repair & plow the road?  It just doesn’t seem fair.


Please tell me if my logic is wrong.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 23, 2017 09:46

Funny that many of those that scoffed at helping to clean up Wareham's water by helping to pay for sewering as a Town are the same ones now asking Wareham to pay for repairing, maintaining and plowing their PRIVATE ROADS as a Town. The sewer betterments included the cost of paving PUBLIC ROADS.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 23, 2017 09:51

WBS, your home value is what it is. Some people would rather live on a private road than a public so its not a negative. Perhaps you bought the right home on the wrong street.

Posted by: Fossil | Mar 23, 2017 09:57

My street is not on the accepted list, yet my house was built in 1894. The list states it is a careful review of hundreds of years of records? All the other streets around me are on the list although they are smaller and less used streets that are not through ways like my street. My street does get plowed. I just bought my house in August 2016, I pay my taxes, my water bill, my sewer bill, I see no reason why my street should not be on the list.

If the road is unaccepted than a tax rebate has to be applied to these residence, how to determine how much of a rebate should also be a question.   My road is located at Indian Mound beach area  Algonquin St. which is directly located off Red Brook Road and straight through to beach area.





Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 23, 2017 10:22

Fossil, Your street is part of a larger subdivision that was not accepted by the Town. It may or may not still have an improvement association that was formed to maintain the subdivision. Most times the frameworks for the associations are formed by the developer so they don't need to build roads to acceptable status and or if they want to remain private then turned over to the property owners. If your roads are bad you may want to speak with the association or find the association bylaws documents and reform association if disbanded. You will then have a mechanism to get your roads repaired and then possibly accepted should they be brought up to specification and Town has a desire to accept

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 23, 2017 13:23

Sphere, all cases are not that cut & dry.  I agree that some may rather live on an unaccepted road.  Especially in the case when the unaccepted road leads to a very desirable home and location.  It's worth it in that case.  But not all.


I'm focused on the tricky technical ones. Take for example the many unaccepted side roads along Swift's Beach Road.  Greenwood, Wildwood, Sherman, etc. None of those residents chose those streets because they were unaccepted.  Many of those properties have been in families for years and many had no idea what this unaccepted road thing was about until lately.


In those cases, the corner lot has a Swift’s Beach Road or Bayview Street address.  Swifts & Bayview are accepted roads.  However, the driveways to those corner lot properties are accessed from the many unaccepted side roads.  Why should the people on the unaccepted side roads pay to maintain those roads when the people in the corner lot houses don’t have to?  They’re both driving on and using the unaccepted road the exact same way. See what I’m getting at?  It’s complicated.


These many adjacent properties are perfect examples for my previously mentioned abatement.  They share a lot line.  They are nearly identical.  They both pay the same tax rate.  The houses are assessed the same way.  Yet one is on an accepted road and one on an undesirable unaccepted road.  The house on the unaccepted road shouldn’t be worth as much and should pay less property tax.  I suggest a 10% reduction in value for all houses on unaccepted roads.

Posted by: cranberry scoop | Mar 23, 2017 22:42

I think we need to clarify that there is a difference between private and unaccepted. It's true that some unaccepted roads are private but many are not.  Many are used by everyone; they were simply never finished.  If the roads were better in general it would improve the appearance of the whole town and make it more attractive to would-be residents. And again, I don't see how you can charge someone for maintenance of property that they don't own, when it is used by everyone.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 24, 2017 07:26

WBS, I believe that Swifts beach has an improvement association. It was not formed only to host a cookout in July. It should be there to do exactly what its name implies, Improving swifts beach. Those improvements include the roads that lie within that area. If it is not doing so then the Association is and has been in dereliction of duty. Back when that area was subdivided I have no doubt that it was marketed as a summer community foe people to come down and enjoy the shore. People would come and they would be gone long before the snow flew. Having paved roads that met the Towns standard was not a high priority and lots were sold cheaply. Problem arises when what were once summer cottages become year round homes. The area still has a lot of private roads but the Association shirked its duty, its not the Towns fault the neighbors didnt vote in responsible Improvement Association officers. Those officers should have set and collected dues to keep the area up. As far as the corner lots go, the association bylaws should address that scenario and if not a vote for changing them should take place. People in these association areas should look at their property along the same lines as a condo with monthly or yearly fees to keep place together. Those roads are common areas and should be treated as such by the association.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 24, 2017 07:31

Scoop, the roads are owned by someone. Most likely its the homeowner or the association and if its the association its the homeowners that are within the association area.

Posted by: cranberry scoop | Mar 24, 2017 09:06

What about the person who does not own the road, and is not in an association. They live on an unaccepted street that looks like any other street.  It cannot be legal to make them maintain property that they do not own., property that is used by everyone.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 24, 2017 10:06

There is a Swifts Beach Improvement Association (SBIA).  For a nominal fee one can join and get one of those red placards to hang on the front of their house (cottage).  I remember when everybody had one.  As Sphere said about the cookout in July, the organization is though of as being involved with the Pleasant Street Community House events, summer activities, and making Swifts a fun summer place.  The modest annual membership fees definitely cannot cover road work and plowing.  It's not a homeowner's association in that sense.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 24, 2017 17:41

WBS, The organization might be thought of as it is but in reality they should be organizing and collecting appropriate funds from the resident in  its care to maintain the roads and facilities they are responsible for. If I were in that neighborhood I would get on the Association board and push for an appraisal of the streets and get estimates to get them to a suitable condition. I would then set appropriate dues and come up with a plan to get roads repaired by priority. Once they are of suitable condition petition the Town to accept them.

Scoop, Someone owns the road, its either the homeowners owning to the centerline of the road layout or its the developer of the subdivision. If there is no HOA then one should be formed to maintain the private rds and work toward getting them accepted. Search back thru your deed to see if a HOA was set up by developer and transferred to the lots. There may be bylaws listed and who is within the HOA. Organize according to bylaws and collect sufficient funds via dues or betterments to get roads repaired.  I am not a lawyer but there must be someway to force dues/betterment payment from all property owners.

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Mar 25, 2017 13:24

Sphere,  the SBIA shouldn't. I'm a member and live on an accepted road. The SBIA is for the upkeep of the club house and the events they put on for the members all summer long, not just a cook out in July. There are wine tastings, breakfasts, trips to Foxwoods, weekly bingo for kids and adults, a pot luck international dinner and much more.Seeing how little you know about the SBIA, maybe you should do some home work before you tell us what we should do. It's not to pay for the maintenance of unaccepted roads. It's ridiculous to think otherwise.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 25, 2017 18:49

OK Peaches whatever you say. If you want your improvement association to run wine tastings and other social events thats fine. Just don't coming looking for anyone to pay to maintain your private roads. I suggest you change the SBIA to the Swift Beach social club because its a bit decieving

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Mar 27, 2017 09:45

It is a social club not an HOA. I'm sure we're going to change the name because you don't like it.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 27, 2017 13:13

Maybe back when they named it an improvement association they were holding a wine tasting earlier in the day. It could also be that so many wine tastings were held that they said to heck with the improvements and decided a social club is more fun. Call it what you want, just don't expect me to vote to authorize spending to fix your private roads. I hope your day improves.

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Mar 27, 2017 17:03

You clearly missed the part where I said I don't live on an unaccepted road. None of the roads in Swifts are private.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 28, 2017 08:37

There are private roads in Swifts beach, many of them. If they are not accepted by the Town they are privately held by someone. Its either the developer, the homeowner or the Swift Beach Wine Tasting association. I hope your day improves.

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Mar 28, 2017 09:36

Sphere, you need to learn the difference between private and unaccepted roads.

Posted by: | Mar 28, 2017 10:03

I would never buy a House with a HOA fee attached to it. I understand what that means and agree that they are on their own for maintenance. Smaller government, less taxes and all that. However I am very surprised how many people live on these roads and were not informed. It should be law that any real estate transaction be provided a disclosure about this. Most of these roads and houses look no different than accepted areas. I'm pretty sure they didn't know and weren't told at the time of purchase. I like this bylaw - I think it is responsible but it is too broad. Maybe we can whittle the list down a bit.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Mar 29, 2017 07:37

We just spent millions pig dollars on sewer projects, dug up roads,  had folks tie in.  Now they have a betterment charge. The last group we fought very hard to keep that charge baseline. After spending and collecting millions,  many of these folks need a truck or keep to get to their homes,  the roads were left worst off than before. I did try to get these at least passable. The answer was submit a form,  the Town goes out and does an estimate, and if you want to pay the price they will come and grease the road only. So if we get allot of rain this could happen 3 times a year just to keep the road passable. And again that's after spending millions and charging the residents a tie in fee and a betterment for sewer. So for those complain about spending a few dollars on a plow if it snows,  talk to these folks. You won't get much sympathy. Dave had commented on the passable road situation,  maybe he could chime in and let us know how or if things have improved.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Mar 29, 2017 07:39

Sorry spellchecker having some fun on my phone,  they will come and grade the road, not grease it. And they were not pig dollars but hard earned tax dollars.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Mar 29, 2017 07:40

Sorry spellchecker having some fun on my phone,  they will come and grade the road, not grease it. And they were not pig dollars but hard earned tax dollars.

Posted by: Fossil | Mar 30, 2017 00:29

Sphere, you tell me that Algonquin St is part of an association? Than how come all these others are on the list :  I see Cherokee DR.on list also Chippewa Dr, Choctaw Dr, Cleveland Way, Cohasset Rd, Fearing St, Glenwood CR, Hiawata Rd, Martin St, Saltworks Rd.

All street that are around me, some much smaller I might add. Seems my street is the only one not on the list for the so call Indian Mount Association.. Why would that be?   So your saying the 15 houses on the street need collect enough money to maintain it.  Most are rentals and a few summer homes.  I moved in Aug 2016..was never told about this from any realtor or town document.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 30, 2017 07:57

If its not a Town road then its a private rd and owned by someone along with the maintenance. 

Posted by: Fossil | Apr 01, 2017 13:27

Not sure who you are Sphere, but I can guess your on the road committee. If not the head of it.  There is a lot of people here that have the same concern. These Associations seems to be formed many years ago, and seemed to be defunked other for summer event. The town should have kept a list of Association leaders and made sure they new what there responsibility were, after all they had to get all rights to build fron the town in the first place. So I say lets not look like the Trump white house, lets move forward and find a solution.  Throw some hard patch on the roads that need it and plow. We pay our taxes to the town, not to the Association.



Posted by: Fossil | Apr 01, 2017 13:47

Also let me link you to another article about waste water.

First off the get me wrong I am all for fixing the problems and the importance of waste water.  So the town can pay tax money to fix water problems on the private roads. Even in areas the are well below flood plane, but road committee see's it different from the water committee..  ???

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 03, 2017 07:26

What would happen if you lived in a Condo and your condo association decided to only hold wine tastings and not force condo owners to pay their condo fees or maintain common areas? The same thing that has happened to the association neighborhoods, Its time to pay the fiddler.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 03, 2017 11:06

Confusion continues to make this topic difficult to understand.


1. The "associations" (i.e. Swifts's Beach Improvement Association) are not condo associations.  Their purpose is not to maintain and plow roads.  It is completely off-topic to say that they are responsible.  SBIA holds bingo, teen dances, and makes the beach fun.  That's all.  To prove this, it is possible to buy a home in Swifts Beach and never have any involvement or awareness of SBIA.  If it was like a condo association, it would be a mandatory.  Condo fees and mandatory association fees are part of a real estate transaction.   SBIA is optional and has nothing to do with maintaining roads and plowing.  I am willing to assume that other beach associations in Wareham are the same.


2.  Private vs. Unaccepted is a huge grey area.  Andrea posted some formal definitions previously but it still appears that there is misunderstanding.


There are very few actual private roads in Swifts Beach.  A good example of a private road in Swifts is the long dirt end of Shady Lane. It is a single wide "long driveway" leading to several secluded seasonal houses on Mark's Cove. It is similar to many private roads that lead to waterfront and secluded rural houses in Wareham.  The Town has never plowed or maintained it, nor  does  anybody expect the Town to plow or maintain the long dirt end of Shady Lane.  There really should be no issue with private roads fitting that description.


However, Swifts Beach has many unaccepted roads. Good examples of unaccepted roads in Swifts Beach are Swift Ave, Greenwood, Galavotti, & Everett.  These are in the heart of Swifts Beach.  They look and feel exactly like the other adjacent and accepted roads in Swifts Beach.  The Town has always maintained and plowed those roads.  SBIA is not responsible for those roads (see #1).  It will be complicated and unfair to make the residents on those unaccepted roads pay.


3. Unfair...yes, fairness will be huge.  As I described in my earlier comment, many driveways to houses on accepted roads are accessed via. unaccepted roads.  Swift Ave, Greenwood, Galavotti, & Everett all have 4 corner lot properties with either Swifts Beach Road or Bayview Street addresses.  Those roads are accepted so those residents won't have to pay.  But they access their driveways from the unaccepted roads.  Why should the residents of the unaccepted roads pay for them?  They are using the unaccepted road too.

Posted by: Davidsgirl | Apr 03, 2017 12:23

Two simple questions, why did the town allow contractors to build all of these roads and not have a process to either accept them prior to issuing occupancy certificates or to clearly state that they would be private? Is this still happening, are contractors to this day creating streets and just walking away at the end of the process with another unaccepted road sold to unaware residents?

Posted by: Fossil | Apr 03, 2017 23:25

So if my house is on a private road, my house must be private also. Taxes should not go to the town but to an Association.


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 04, 2017 00:10

Hope this thought doesn't give anybody any ideas.  Many unaccepted roads have streetlights.  Will the electric bill be divided amongst the properties on the unaccepted road?  Seems logical according to what's being presented.

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