Public Law

Updates on Public Law in Massachusetts from Anderson & Kreiger LLP

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Posted In: Uncategorized

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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Posted In: Open Meeting Law

SJC Decision Guides Open Meeting Law Compliance Throughout the Commonwealth

On April 5, 2018, in an important case of first impression, the Supreme Judicial Court found that a Town’s Board of Selectmen had violated the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law in…

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Posted In: Uncategorized

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: Marijuana

Two Draft Cannabis Regulations May Surprise Local Decision-Makers, and Affect Their Planning

There are two draft Cannabis Regulations that may surprise local decision-makers, and affect their planning. Cities and towns have been primed to expect that the sale of marijuana products would…

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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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