Category Archives: Municipal

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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Appeals Court Ruling Promotes Expedited Resolution of Land Use Disputes

In 2006, then-Governor Mitt Romney signed into law “An Act Relative to Streamlining and Expediting the Permitting Process in the Commonwealth.”  The Act created a designated “permit session” in the Land Court designed to handle all permit-related litigation involving large … Continue reading

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The Massachusetts Green Communities Act: Go Green Or Go Home

According to a recent study, 45% of all construction projects will be green by 2014.  The trend indicates that green projects will soon be the industry standard.  From international bodies to state and local government, lawmakers at all levels are … Continue reading

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MassDEP Issues Emergency Regulations for Post-Storm Cleanup from Hurricane Sandy

MassDEP has issued emergency regulations to specify the procedures for post-storm cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  The emergency regulations will remain in effect for 90 days from October 26, 2012 to January 24, 2013.  The emergency regulations allow … 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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UPDATE: Vote on Southborough Zoning Overhaul Delayed to January Special Town Meeting

As an update to our previous posts here and here, the MetroWest Daily News is reporting that the Town of Southborough has pushed out a vote on the pending zoning overhaul from October to a special Town Meeting in January.  … 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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Appeals Court Ruling Reinforces Importance of Timely Filing of Permit Appeals

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Do not take a casual approach to permit appeals – that is the lesson from the Appeals Court’s recent decision in Richardson v. Bd. of Appeals of Chilmark.   Under the Massachusetts Zoning Act, G.L. c. 40A, §§8, 15, a party … Continue reading

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