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Rio Vista's


Actually, these “streets” are not paper but swaths of grass, trees, shrubs and wet areas running through Rio Vista. They are called paper streets because they are shown on the recorded Rio Vista plat but were never made into functional roads.

 Specifically, these are:


  1. Adams Street (runs behind the commercial buildings along Route 33 in the area between Lincoln and Madison); there is an open grassy area and then an area with many trees

  2. Adams Street (the portion that runs between Madison and Bush Terrace; this area is overgrown with bushes and trees

  3. Monroe Street (the extension of the paved Monroe Street between Lincoln and Cleveland); this is a wide grassy area

  4. Van Buren Street (runs between Lincoln and Cleveland and is located after Jackson but before Harrison as you drive up Lincoln from Route 33); this is a wide grassy area with some bushes

  5. Calvert Avenue (runs behind houses on Monroe, Lincoln and Riverview Terrace and was intended to connect with the paved Calvert Avenue in Bentley Hay); this is overgrown with bushes, trees and is wet most of the time


Maryland law states that when a lot described in a deed is bounded by a public or a private street but the road or street has not been accepted for public maintenance (our paper streets) and has never been conveyed to a specific owner, then the abutting landowners “own” to the center of the paper street. That ownership, however, is not absolute and is subject to the rights of others to use the street in question. As a matter of law, all property owners within Rio Vista have the right to use the unpaved paper streets.



Talbot County Circuit Court has ruled that where the paper street has not been used by automobiles for more 20 years, the right to use the street with vehicles can lapse. However, pedestrian rights to use the paper streets if exercised from time to time, do not lapse. Both non-abutting property owners (those whose lots are not next to a paper street) and abutting property owners have the right to maintain and use these areas. For example, they may trim or cut bushes that impede pedestrian use of the paper street. Abutting property owners do not have the right to block or obstruct the paper street or prevent others from using it.



Your Rio Vista Board has investigated the law regarding paper streets in our community in order to clarify the rights of all property owners in Rio Vista to enjoy these open green spaces in our development.

If you have questions, use the following e-mail:     


News & Announcements

Rio Vista Community Association

P.O. Box 254
St. Michaels, MD 21663
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