Category Archives: Municipal

A Landfill Is Not a “Point Source” Under the Clean Water Act, So Says the 4th Circuit and D.Mass.

Two recent rulings address the issue of whether a landfill is a “point source” under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq. (CWA), Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric et al and Toxics Action Center et al v. … Continue reading

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Breathing New Life into Worcester’s Former County Courthouse

Since 2007, the Worcester County Courthouse at 2 Main Street has been largely vacant.  After the trial courts moved to the new Worcester Regional Judicial Center at 225 Main Street in the fall of 2007, the Worcester Law Library was … Continue reading

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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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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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On Solid Ground’s Top Five Stories of 2013

With 2013 coming to an end, it’s time to take a look back at the year that was.  Each year brings new developments in real estate, environmental and construction law, and 2013 was certainly no exception.  Here’s our pick for … Continue reading

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Judge Cutler Appointed as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Land Court

Chief Justice Paula M. Carey of the Trial Court has appointed Justice Judith C. Cutler as the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Land Court.  Judge Cutler will serve a five-year term starting on January 2, 2014.  She succeeds current Chief Justice … Continue reading

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Legislature’s $1.4 Billion Bond Bill Amends Controversial Chapter 40B

The Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives recently passed a $1.4 billion bond bill authorizing, among other things, $500 million in repairs and improvements to public housing and $305 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.  While the dollar amounts … 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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Supreme Court Ruling a Victory for Developers’ Fifth Amendment Property Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling today in the closely-watched Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District case.  The decision is a major victory for private property rights, particularly in the land use permitting context. In a 5-4 … 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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