Olympia “Libby” Bowker

Associate

Tel. 617.621.6508

Olympia “Libby” Bowker advises private and public sector clients on environmental, land use, zoning, permitting, and other regulatory matters.  Libby’s experience includes:

  • Environmental: counseling clients on hazardous waste remediation and environmental permitting matters.  Libby recently represented a municipality in an on-going salt-water estuary restoration project, including through project design and modification, permitting, and negotiations with abutters.
  • Land Use and Zoning: representing clients before planning boards, zoning boards, conservation commissions, historical commissions and other various administrative forums, as well as in arbitrations, mediations, Land Court, and Superior Court.  In addition, Libby is often called on to advise those bodies themselves.
  • Permitting: collaborating with architects, engineers, surveyors, and wetlands scientists to prepare and present applications before numerous entities for Special Permits, Variances, Orders of Conditions, Site Plan Review, and subsequent permit modifications. She has represented municipalities and private clients in challenges to permit decisions in Superior Court and Land Court, and before administrative entities such as the Building Code Appeals Board.

Libby’s written work has been featured in a variety of legal and environmental publications, including the Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation, Municipal Law Quarterly, the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) Newsletter, and the Boston Jar Journal. She has presented seminars and webinars on zoning and legal developments affecting municipal boards for the Citizen Planner Training Collaborative (CPTC), the Annual Environmental Conference of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC), and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE).

Prior to law school, Libby conducted oceanic temperature research aboard a research vessel based out of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, led a backcountry trail crew repairing remote sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, and taught outdoor science classes at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Affiliations

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Legal Volunteer
  • Boston Bar Association
    • Co-Chair, Environmental and Energy Law Section’s Public Service Committee, 2018-2020
    • Law School Graduate Mentor, 2020-2021
    • Bar Exam Coach, 2018, 2020
  • Vermont Law School Alumni Association, Boston
    Board of Governors, 2019-present
  • University of Vermont Alumni Association, Boston Regional Board
    Member, 2017-present
  • Real Estate Bar Association, Member, 2016-present
    • Strategic Communications Commission, 2021

Admissions

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

United States 1st Circuit Court of Appeals

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

New Hampshire Supreme Court

Education

Vermont Law School, J.D. and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy, 2015

University of Vermont, B.A., 2009

  • Negotiated and drafted license agreement to enable remediation of contaminated soil and soil gas.
  • Successfully obtained variances from zoning provisions to enable construction of a single-family home in place of a pre-existing non-conforming use and structure.
  • Favorably resolved land use and property right issues before municipal board to secure Order of Conditions for redevelopment of beachfront registered land.
  • Advised client on pending taking of a temporary access easement across their property, and negotiated higher compensation than that approved by Town Meeting.
  • Counseled homeowners on compliance with the Wetlands Protection Act and local bylaws and regulations.
  • Successfully finalized agreement between neighborhood residents and national developer, regarding support for development project in exchange for community benefits.
  • Provided permitting advice to homeowners and developers to ensure compliance with local and state regulations.
  • Secured variance from the Building Code Appeals Board from flood resiliency provisions of the Building Code to enable occupancy of renovated structure.

Olympia Bowker, Appeals Court Interpretation of Conservation Restriction Underscores Value of Clear Language, Conservation Quarterly, Fall 2020, at 9.

Bowker, O. and Stevens, N. (June 26, 2020), Wetlands Permitting During the COVID-19 Pandemic, REBA Environmental Law Section Webcast.

Bowker, O. and Stevens, N. (June 5, 2020), Land Use Permitting During the COVID-19 Pandemic, REBA Environmental Law Section Webcast.

Bowker, O. and Stevens, N. (May 21, 2020), Navigating Wetland Permitting During COVID-19: The 60-Minute Lawyer – How the emergency laws, orders, and rules affect your clients and their projects, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.

Olympia Bowker, Supreme Court Rules A Clean Water Act Permit Can Be Required for Groundwater Discharges, REBA Blog (May 7, 2020), http://rebama.blogspot.com/2020/05/supreme-court-rules-clean-water-act.html.

Olympia Bowker, Supreme Court Rules A Clean Water Act Permit Can Be Required For Groundwater Discharges By Maui Country Into Navigable Waters, Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association(May 4, 2020), https://www.massmunilaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/County-Of-Maui-Bowker-Article.pdf.

Olympia Bowker, Lake and Pond Management – How Much Authority Does a Conservation Commission Have? The Stockbridge Bowl Case from Two Perspectives:Part 2, Science Meets Law in Superior Court Ruling Allowing Herbicides for Lake and Pond Management, Conservation Quarterly, Spring 2020, at 5.

Bowker, O., Moderator (April 22, 2020), Navigating Permitting and Appeals Under New COVID-19 Rules, Boston Bar Association.

Bowker, O. and McGregor, G. (February 29, 2020) Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions Annual Environmental Conference, Environmental Law 2020: Legal Developments Commissions Need to Know, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.

Olympia Bowker, Stockbridge Bowl Case: Where the Law Meets Science in Court, McGregor & Legere Attorney Blog (Feb. 28, 2020), https://www.mcgregorlegere.com/attorney-blog/item/57-stockbridge-ma-bowl-case-where-the-law-meets-science-in-court-herbicide-treatment-eurasian-watermilfoil.

Olympia Bowker, Adorable as Affordable?: The Zoning Challenge of Tiny Houses, 63 Boston Bar J. 4 (Fall 2019).

Olympia Bowker, Miramar Beach Dredged Spoils Case: SJC Elaborates Role of Regulatory Performance Standards, McGregor & Legere Attorney Blog (Oct. 4, 2018), https://www.mcgregorlegere.com/olymipia-bowker-bio-articles/item/46-miramar-beach-dredged-spoils-case-supreme-judicial-court-elaborates-role-regulatory-performance-standards.

Bowker, O. (Mar. 17, 2018) Massachusetts Citizen Planner Training Collaborative – Introduction to the Zoning Act, Presentation, 2018 CPTC Annual Conference, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.

Olympia Bowker, Tiny Houses Face Zoning and Other Obstacles in Massachusetts, McGregor & Legere Attorney Blog (Mar. 2, 2018), https://mcgregorlegere.com/olymipia-bowker-bio-articles/item/41-tiny-houses-face-zoning-obstacles-massachusetts.

Olympia Bowker, Zoning and Other Legal Obstacles to Tiny Houses, REBA Blog (February 22, 2018), http://rebama.blogspot.com/search/label/Olympia%20A.%20Bowker.

Bowker, O. (Sept. 14-16, 2017) Environmental Law Updates: Local Developments in Light of Federal Changes, Presentation, Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association Annual Meeting and Conference, Hyannis, MA (preparation of materials only).

Olympia Bowker, Appeals Court Finds Conservation Commission Inaction Cured by Previous Order of Conditions, REBA Blog (Aug. 21, 2017), http://rebama.blogspot.com/2017/08/appeals-court-finds-conservation.html

Olympia Bowker, Appeals Court Applies Vernal Pool Protections in Original OOC for Entire Subdivision Despite Commission’s Delay Acting On Subsequent NOI, Conservation Quarterly, Summer 2017, at 20.

Olympia Bowker, Municipal Modernization Act a Smorgasbord of Changes on Environment and Land Use, REBA News, November 2016.

Olympia Bowker, New Law Means Less Control for Municipalities, The Municipal Law Quarterly, Fall 2016, at 11.

Olympia Bowker, Water, Water, Everywhere: New Hampshire’s Expansive Public Assets, NH Bar News, S 21, 2016, at 35.

Olympia Bowker, He walks the line: 1L balances school…and the U.S. Supreme Court?, Student Lawyer Magazine, March 1, 2016.

Olympia Bowker, A Vague Invasion: The Inadequacy of Invasive Species Definitions in Reaching Federal and State Goals, Illustrated by Application of A. Arenaria to Coastal Dune Preservation, 29 J. L. & Litig. 579 (2015).

Olympia Bowker, The Dam(age) Stops Here: The Public Trust and Dam Removal, J. Envtl. L. EcoPerspectives Blog (June 1, 2015), http://vjel.vermontlaw.edu/the-damage-stops-here-the-public-trust-and-dam-removal/.

Tuholske, Jack and Kilbert, Kenneth, Moving Forward: Legal Solutions to Lake Erie’s Harmful Algal Blooms (April 15, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2667107 (contributing researcher)

Olympia Bowker, Tiny Beads, Big Problem: Vermont Seeks to Ban Microbeads, J. Envtl. L. EcoPerspectives Blog (Feb. 23, 2015), http://vjel.vermontlaw.edu/tiny-beads-big-problem-vermont-seeks-ban-microbeads/.

Olympia Bowker & Michael Campinell, Blurred Lines: The Importance of Delineation Between Legislative and Non-legislative Rules Under the APA, J. Envtl. L. EcoPerspectives Blog (Feb. 9, 2015), vjel.vermontlaw.edu/blurred-lines-importance-delineation-legislative-non-legislative-rules-apa/.

Libby and her husband live in Cambridge with their dog, Koda, and far too many books. Libby enjoys fresh-cut flowers, sailing old wooden boats, and the occasional outdoor adventure.