Author Archives: Brian Falk

About Brian Falk

Brian is an attorney in Mirick O'Connell's Land Use and Environmental Law Group. In his municipal practice, he counsels towns and cities in all areas of municipal law. He also represents private clients in land use permitting matters and real estate transactions. Brian lives in Milford with his wife and three sons.

ATB: Solar Energy Systems Exempt From Property Taxes

Solar energy systems providing power to off-site locations are exempt from local property taxes, according to a ruling from the Appellate Tax Board. The ATB’s decision in Forrestall Enterprises, Inc. v. Board of Assessors of the Town of Westborough may … Continue reading

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SJC: Private Forest Land Eligible for Tax Exemption

As an update to our previous post, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) today reversed the Appellate Tax Board (ATB) and held that forest land owned by a private conservation organization should be exempt from local property taxes. The decision in … Continue reading

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MAPC: Region Needs 435,000 New Housing Units by 2040

The greater Boston area – including MetroWest – will need to add 435,000 new housing units by 2040 in order to sustain economic growth, according to a new report issued by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Without additional housing, … Continue reading

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SJC to Rule on Tax Status of Forest Land

In a case that could have broad – and expensive – implications for conservation organizations statewide, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) must decide whether forest land owned by a nonprofit is entitled to a charitable exemption from property taxes. New … Continue reading

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CPA Grants to Churches Raise Constitutional Questions

A national religious liberty watchdog group is warning towns and cities against spending Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds on church buildings – a practice that has paid for historic preservation work at dozens of religious structures throughout Massachusetts. Municipalities frequently … Continue reading

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Towns Can’t Ban Marijuana Shops; Zoning Moratoria OK

Towns and cities may not use zoning to ban marijuana shops, according to a recent ruling by the Attorney General’s Office. Zoning Ban Struck Down As noted in a previous post, municipal officials have been considering zoning provisions aimed at … Continue reading

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Pending Legislation Would Dramatically Reform Massachusetts Land Use Law

The latest effort to overhaul Massachusetts land use law is backed by a coalition of planning, environmental and housing organizations. “An Act Promoting the Planning and Development of Sustainable Communities”, House Bill # 1859, was introduced on Beacon Hill last … Continue reading

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Communities Taking Preemptive Strikes Against Marijuana Shops

Local officials across Massachusetts are seeking to restrict or ban marijuana dispensaries from opening in their towns and cities, likely setting up a legal showdown between local zoning provisions and the new state law legalizing medicinal marijuana. Marijuana Dispensaries May … Continue reading

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Westborough to Regulate Solar Energy Projects

Voters at the Westborough Special Town Meeting this week approved a new zoning bylaw that requires large solar energy projects to undergo site plan review. Westborough is now the latest town to regulate solar installations, which have become increasingly common … Continue reading

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UPDATE: Permit Extension Act Extended

As an update to our previous post, the Jobs Bill signed by Governor Patrick this week amended the Permit Extension Act by adding two additional years to both the tolling period and the expiration period for state and local land … Continue reading

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SJC: Involuntary Waiver of Wetlands Decision Deadline Invalid

A common practice by conservation commissions in which they preemptively extend their own deadlines under the state Wetlands Protection Act has been struck down by the Supreme Judicial Court. In this week’s Garrity v. Conservation Commission of Hingham decision, the Supreme Judicial … Continue reading

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Work on Southborough Zoning Overhaul Continues

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At long last, Southborough residents and business owners may only be a few meetings away from seeing a final proposal to overhaul the town’s zoning bylaw. As we mentioned a few months ago, Southborough officials have been working for over three … Continue reading

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