Public Law

Updates on Public Law in Massachusetts from Anderson & Kreiger LLP

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New State Law Allows Local Regulation of Short-Term Rentals

Just before 2018 ended, Governor Baker signed An Act Regulating and Insuring Short-Term Rentals into law.  The Act capped off years of public debate, Beacon Hill wrangling, and local regulation…

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Posted In: Uncategorized

Supreme Judicial Court Reaffirms Massachusetts Rule: No Liability for Damages from Healthy Trees

image credit: Couleur

The Supreme Judicial Court recently reaffirmed that a landowner whose property is damaged by a neighbor’s healthy tree cannot hold the neighbor responsible for damages. Shiel v. Rowell, SJC-12432 (July…

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Two Cases Result in Opposite Outcomes for Massachusetts Municipal Employees Seeking Immunity

Police officer not entitled to immunity under federal law, but school district shielded from suit under state statute. Two cases on municipal immunity were issued this month, one from a…

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SJC Agrees That Anti-Aid Amendment Does Not Ban Public Funds to Churches for Historic Preservation, But Sets a New Rigorous Test

Today, the SJC applied for the first time its Anti-Aid Amendment jurisprudence to public funding to an active church.  In a 5-1 decision in Caplan v. Town of Acton, SJC-12274,…

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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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CPA Funds Can Be Used to Preserve Historic Church Buildings

The Town of Acton recently secured a victory in a Court fight over the use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to preserve two historic churches. The CPA allows cities and…

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By Regulating Taxis but Ignoring Ride-Hail Services, Boston May Be Violating the Constitution

Municipalities may want to rethink the way that they regulate taxis, or consider regulating ride-hail services like Uber and Lyft, following a new federal district court decision in a dispute…

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Grandfathered Convenience Store Can Add Alcohol Sales Without Zoning Relief

A grandfathered convenience store may add beer and wine sales without obtaining zoning relief from the town, the Appeals Court recently decided in Almeida v. Arruda. How Much Can a…

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Serious Local Health Issues Trump the Affordable Housing Zoning Act

Chapter 40B – sometimes known as the Anti-Snob Zoning Act – tackles “exclusionary zoning” that can prevent badly needed subsidized housing from being built. Under the Act, local zoning boards…

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Court Shuts Down Completed Rail Trail Project in Favor of Private Land Owner

When a Superior Court judge rules against a Boy Scout who earned his Eagle Scout badge by successfully turning an abandoned mile of rail line into a nature trail, we…

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