Public Law

Updates on Public Law in Massachusetts from Anderson & Kreiger LLP

Recent Posts

Posted In: Zoning

SJC Reaffirms that Chapter 40B does not Supersede Property Rights

General Laws Chapter 40B was enacted nearly 50 years ago to overcome local obstacles to affordable housing.  A powerful tool against parochial requirements and regulations, it authorizes the municipal zoning…

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Posted In: Zoning

Approval of Structural Modification Does Not Protect Unlawful Use of the Property

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently held that the addition of a fire escape under a building permit did not start the 6-year limitations period for enforcement regarding the use of…

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Posted In: Land Use

SJC Announces New Test to Determine When Public Land Falls within Protections of Article 97

In Smith v. City of Westfield, the Supreme Judicial Court broadened the application of article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, holding that its conservation protections apply to any land that…

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Posted In: Drones

Federal Court Clarifies, Limits the Role of Local Governments in Drone Regulation

Ever since FAA issued its first set of regulations regarding the operation of unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”, or “drones”) in June 2016, local governments have been left wondering what was…

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Posted In: Zoning

Un-Neighborly Conduct: Adjacent Town Lacks Standing to Block Asphalt Plant

In the latest battle in the ongoing dispute over a proposed asphalt plant in Westford abutting the Chelmsford town line, the Superior Court recently held that Chelmsford has no standing…

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Posted In: Municipal Law

SJC’s Trend: Preserve Meritorious Anti-SLAPP Suits

A SLAPP suit (a strategic lawsuit against public participation) discourages and intimidates individuals from exercising their constitutional right of petition the government. The Massachusetts Legislature enacted the anti-SLAPP suit law,…

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Posted In: Uncategorized, Zoning

Time to Make the Donuts? Appeals Court Rules Hopkinton Dunkin’ Donuts Could Be a Retail Store

Fast-food coffee shops may look virtually the same from town to town, but as a recent Appeals Court decision reminds planners and local land use boards, what a town’s zoning…

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Posted In: Land Use

Appeals Court Settles that an ex-Government Building Constitutes a Preexisting Nonconforming Structure

The Appeals Court recently held that the former Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse in East Cambridge will be a preexisting, nonconforming structure under the Zoning Act when it is bought by…

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Posted In: Marijuana, Municipal Law

10 Things You Need to Know About the New Marijuana Law

If your Town Voted against Question 4 to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use: The local legislative body (town meeting, city council, etc.) may adopt an ordinance or bylaw imposing limits…

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Posted In: Land Use, Municipal Law

Supreme Court on Regulatory Takings: Look to Reasonable Expectations

Late last week, the Supreme Court decided an important case in regulatory takings law, Murr v. Wisconsin.  Murr sets out a new test for defining the private property at issue…

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