Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

Real-Time News & Commentary on Massachusetts Land Use & Real Estate Law

Tag Archives: nonconforming structure

Appeals Court Ruling Confirms Grandfathering Protection for Former Cambridge Courthouse

Posted in Nonconforming Use, Zoning
Today the Appeals Court decided Gund v. Planning Board of Cambridge.  That case concerns the former location of the Middlesex Superior Court, an asbestos-filled, anomalous sky-scraper near Lechmere in Cambridge.  The building, which does not comply with zoning, has been sold to a developer.  At issue was whether the court house is a preexisting, nonconforming… Continue Reading

Fully Conforming Structure Not Tainted By Nonconforming Use

Posted in Nonconforming Use, Zoning
In a case of first impression, the Appeals Court recently ruled that a dimensionally conforming structure used for a nonconforming use can’t be considered a nonconforming structure under M.G. L. c. 40A, § 6 (Section 6), first paragraph.  The case is Welch-Philippino v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Newburyport (pdf). Under Section 6, the alteration or extension of a pre-existing nonconforming commercial structure triggers the need for… Continue Reading

Appeals Court Fixes One Anomaly In The Tricky Law Of Nonconforming Structures

Posted in Nonconforming Use, Variances, Zoning
In a previous post we discussed Gale v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Gloucester (pdf) and the “difficult and infelicitous” language of the first two sentences of M.G.L. c. 40A, § 6 governing nonconforming uses and structures.  In Gale, the Appeals Court upheld the grant of a special permit authorizing the reconstruction of a single-family house that increased… Continue Reading

The Benefits of Owning a Pre-existing Nonconforming House

Posted in Nonconforming Use, Zoning
Since its inception, the first paragraph of M.G.L. c. 40A, sec. 6 (Section 6) has confused lawyers, landowners and judges alike.  One question that has arisen is whether a variance is needed in order to alter a pre-existing nonconforming structure, where the alteration creates new nonconformities or exacerbates existing ones.  In Gale v. Zoning Board of Appeals… Continue Reading