Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

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

Category Archives: Agricultural Use

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Divided Appeals Court Panel Reverses Land Court on “Bona Fide Offer” Issue

Posted in Agricultural Use, Legislation, Miscellaneous
In a St. Patrick’s Day decision, the Appeals Court interpreted the “bona fide offer” requirement in the version of M.G.L. c. 61A, § 14 (which governs the classification of land as agricultural for property tax purposes) that was in force before the statute’s 2006 amendment.  Reversing a contrary Land Court decision, a divided Appeals Court panel held that an offer conditioned on receiving approvals… Continue Reading

Appeals Court Opens Barn Door Halfway in Horse Case

Posted in Agricultural Use, Restrictive Covenants, Zoning
In Rosenfeld v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Mendon (pdf), the Massachusetts Appeals Court considered the plaintiff abutters’ challenge to the defendant zoning board’s issuance of a special permit authorizing the construction of an equestrian facility on a 46-acre parcel in a residential zone.  As proposed, the facility would feature stables, an indoor training arena, a trainer’s residence,… Continue Reading

Legislature Reduces Minimum Acreage for Agricultural Protection to Two Acres

Posted in Agricultural Use, Legislation, Zoning
The Massachusetts Zoning Enabling Act has long provided that local zoning ordinances and by-laws can’t prohibit, unreasonably regulate, or require a special permit for, agricultural uses on parcels of five acres or more.  The legislature recently reduced the minimum lot size to qualify for these special protections from five acres to two acres, as long as… Continue Reading