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Traffic Ordinances

Question: 30-A MRSA 3009 grants the municipal officers the exclusive authority to adopt ordinances regulating the operation of vehicles in the public ways and on publicly owned property. What procedures should be followed to adopt such ordinances?

Answer: Assuming your municipality does not have any local charter provision providing a different process, the procedures which must be followed for the municipal officers to adopt traffic ordinances are set forth in 30-A MRSA 3009. The following is a suggested format for complying with those requirements:

  • The municipal officers must cause a public notice to be posted at least seven days prior to the time of the meeting at which the traffic ordinance is to be considered for adoption and that notice must be posted in the same place as the town meeting warrant. If your town customarily posts in two or more places, the same number of postings would apply to these notices.
  • The notice must give the date, the time, and the place of the municipal officers’ meeting.
  • The notice should be directed to the voters of the municipality.
  • The notice must contain in full the text of the proposed ordinance.
  • The notice must be signed by at least a majority of the municipal officers, attested in the manner provided for town meeting warrants, and contain a return executed by the person who posted the notice.
  • Example Ordinance Forms (Word) (PDF)

At the time of the meeting, the municipal officers should place the ordinance before the meeting for general discussion and by way of a statement explain the need for the ordinance. After that, the public should have the right to ask questions and engage in general discussion concerning the ordinance itself. After a satisfactory discussion period has been completed, the municipal officers should proceed with the consideration of the ordinance.

The enactment is not difficult. It may be accomplished by a motion made by one of the municipal officers, seconded by another, and voted upon by majority vote. Because there must be a record of the action, it is suggested that the town clerk be present, record the motion, record the second, and poll and record the individual votes of the municipal officers. The minutes of the town clerk plus a certified copy of the ordinance enacted should be record in the town’s records in the same manner as an action by a town meeting (By W.W.L.)

Once the ordinance is passed, the municipality must purchase the hardware and erect the signs following the standards established in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Adapted from "Maine Townsman", November, 1983

 

This page last updated on 1/9/13

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