On Solid Ground’s Top Five Stories of 2014

With the year coming to an end, we take a moment to look back at the year that was.  Each year brings new developments in real estate, environmental and construction law, and 2014 was no exception.  Here’s our top five stories of 2014:

  1. MassDEP’s New Cleanup Regulations Are Now Effective:  The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection had been working on significant revisions to the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) for several years. The MCP governs the assessment and remediation of oil and hazardous material releases. On June 20, 2014, the new regulations became effective.
  2. Massachusetts Revises Its Building Code Adding Increased Energy Efficiency Standards:  As of July 1, 2014, the International Energy Conservation Code 2012 went into effect replacing the former baseline building energy code regulations. The Commonwealth’s adoption of the updated code is meant to improve energy efficiency by 20%.
  3. SJC: Private Forest Land Eligible for Tax Exemption:  In New England Forestry Foundation, Inc. v. Board of Assessors of the Town of Hawley, the Supreme Judicial Court reversed the Appellate Tax Board and held that forest land owned by a private conservation organization is exempt from local property taxes.
  4. Supreme Court Answers: Your Form Selection Clause Is Enforceable:  In Atlantic Marine Construction Co., Inc. v. U.S. District Court, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a forum selection clause must be given effect in all but the most exceptional circumstances.
  5. A Lesson From Somerville: Better Zoning Promotes Economic Growth:  The current zoning process in most Massachusetts communities, even for simple projects, is complex, inefficient and time consuming. A simplified, updated zoning bylaw reduces the often-lengthy “time to market” that discourages good projects and the jobs that come with them.

Still hungry for more?  We invite you peruse our archives in the right-hand column.  From all of us at On Solid Ground and Mirick O’Connell, thanks for a great 2014, and Happy New Year!

About David McCay

Dave is a partner in the firm’s litigation and land use groups where he assists clients in the resolution of complex real estate, environmental and business disputes. He also represents property owners, developers and municipalities in local land use permitting matters. Dave is active in the Boroughs+ region serving recently as the Chair of the Southborough Economic Development Committee and of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the 495/MetroWest Partnership and the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation. Outside of the office, Dave is an avid cyclist competing in road races and criteriums across New England. He lives in Southborough with his wife and two sons.
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