Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

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

Category Archives: Standing

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The Beach is Which Way?

Posted in Standing, Zoning
On June 17, 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court decided an interesting zoning case concerning whether the holder of a beach access easement has standing to challenge a zoning determination affecting the beach parcel.  The case is Picard v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Westminster. As all followers of Massachusetts zoning know, the standing of a… Continue Reading

Appeals Court Panel Finds Standing To Challenge Amended Variance

Posted in Standing, Variances, Zoning
In an “unpublished” decision in Lortie v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Westport, an Appeals Court panel last month reversed a Superior Court decision that had dismissed, on summary judgment, the plaintiff abutters’ appeal of an amendment to a previously-issued variance.  The original variance allowed the defendant developer to demolish 11 apartments and replace them with 11 condominium units.  The plaintiffs didn’t appeal the… Continue Reading

House In Spooner Road Case Goes Up In Smoke

Posted in Nonconforming Use, Standing, Zoning
The Brookline house at the center of a zoning controversy that resulted in an important 2010 Appeals Court decision (pdf) on nonconforming uses, “infectious invalidity” and standing, which in another important decision (pdf) was partiallly reversed by the Supreme Judicial Court, has been destroyed by fire.  Our prior posts on the case are here and here.  As reported by the Brookline… Continue Reading

SJC Seeks Friendly Advice On Ability Of MERS To Foreclose

Posted in Foreclosure, Standing
The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is soliciting amicus briefs in Galiastro v. Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc., an appeal that presents the issue of whether the defendant, MERS, has standing to foreclose in its own right as the named mortgagee in a mortgage, when it does not have any ownership interest or rights in the underlying promissory note.  The SJC will also… Continue Reading

Give Your Sweetheart The Gift Of Knowledge, Courtesy Of The BBA’s Land Use & Development Committee

Posted in Miscellaneous, Standing, Zoning
On Valentine’s Day, the Boston Bar Association’s Land Use & Development Committee, co-chaired by my Rackemann colleague and fellow blogger Johanna Schneider, will host a lunch meeting to discuss recent developments in the law of standing.  The meeting will feature guest speakers Adam Cederbaum of the City of Boston’s Office of Corporation Counsel and noted land use attorney Dan… Continue Reading

SJC Tweaks Appeals Court’s Standing Analysis

Posted in Standing, Zoning
In November, 2010, we reported on the Appeals Court’s decision in 81 Spooner Road, LLC v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Brookline (pdf).  The court found that the defendant’s effort to rebut the plaintiff abutter’s presumption of standing – an effort that was based solely on the abutter’s deposition testimony, in which he offered his own unsupported opinions that he had been harmed – was not… Continue Reading

The SJC’s Southbridge Standing Case, Take Two

Posted in Miscellaneous, Solid Waste, Standing, Zoning
On February 22, 2012, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) re-issued its decision in Board of Health of Sturbridge v. Board of Health of Southbridge (pdf).  The appellants had mailed their notice of appeal to the lower court on the last day for appeal, but it arrived and was docketed four days later.  The SJC initially released its decision in January, but withdrew it two… Continue Reading

Groundwater Change = Standing: Great News for Hydrogeology Consultants

Posted in Standing, Zoning
The Appeals Court recently had another occasion to address standing in the zoning context.  In an “unpublished” decision under the court’s Rule 1:28, a three-judge panel in Brooks v. Chelmsford Hillside Gardens, LLC (pdf) reversed an underlying Land Court decision (pdf) that had dismissed, for lack of standing, an appeal of a comprehensive permit for an affordable housing development under M.G.L. c. 40B.  The panel determined that the plaintiffs… Continue Reading

“Sorry” Is Not a Defense: Appeals Court Affirms Order to Tear Down Nonconforming Structure

Posted in Nonconforming Use, Standing, Zoning
The Appeals Court has affirmed a Superior Court judgment ordering that a house built in violation of both zoning and a previous Superior Court judgment be torn down.  In Cornell v. Michaud (pdf), the defendant Michaud owned several parcels on Harris Pond in Blackstone, Massachusetts.  Some of the lots had been reconfigured and been granted a… Continue Reading

Impaired Ocean View Not Enough to Confer Standing

Posted in Standing, Zoning
The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has made another contribution to the ever-evolving law of zoning standing.  In Kenner v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Chatham (pdf), the court considered the plaintiffs’ challenge to a special permit that the defendant zoning board granted to the plaintiffs’ neighbors in South Chatham.  The permit authorized the neighbors to demolish, rebuild and expand their house. … Continue Reading

New Life for “Bounty Hunter in Troubled Titles”

Posted in Miscellaneous, Standing, Title
In its recent decision in RJR Para Corp. v. Pond (pdf), the Appeals Court makes an important distinction between “personal injury” as that term is commonly understood, and an injuries that are personal in nature but concern rights in real property.  For purposes of having standing to assert a claim under an assignment of rights from the injured person, this… Continue Reading

Doctor, Doctor, (Don’t) Give Me the News: Appeals Court Diagnoses “Infectious Invalidity”

Posted in Nonconforming Use, Standing, Zoning
While many legal doctrines have poetic names (ancient lights, fruit of the poisonous tree), few are as vivid as “infectious invalidity.”  At its simplest, this land use doctrine holds that an owner of an existing lot that is legally non-conforming with zoning (say, because it doesn’t meet increased lot area requirements) who also owns adjoining land cannot lawfully create a… Continue Reading

Epstein v. Boston Board of Appeal

Posted in Standing, Zoning
The Appeals Court reversed the Superior Court’s dismissal, for lack of standing, of the plaintiffs’ challenge to several variances granted to a defendant developer.  Those variances allowed the developer to demolish an existing one-story building on a lot adjacent to the plaintiffs’ four-story condominium building, and replace the one-story building with a new four-story condominium building.  On one side,… Continue Reading