Section 7 of Chapter 40A contains a statute of limitations for actions by individuals and municipalities to compel the removal, alteration, or relocation of any structure due to a zoning violation.  In Bruno v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Tisbury, the Appeals Court considered when the statute of limitations commences based on a zoning violation arising from an ANR (Approval Not Required) subdivision of land.

The Goethals owned a large lot with a single family home and guesthouse.  In 2001, the local planning board endorsed the Goethals’ plan to subdivide that lot into two parcels and, for a time, the Goethals retained both Lots.   Their guesthouse was on Lot 1 and a single family home was on Lot 2.  Lot 1 is about 12,000 square feet, whereas zoning requires a minimum lot size of 25,000 square feet for a single family home.


Continue Reading

Last week the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued its much-anticipated decision in Palitz v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Tisbury.  The fact that the high court took this appeal directly from the Land Court (bypassing the Appeals Court) caused some to wonder whether a dramatic change in the law on the relationshipYou have a variance for that? between 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

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

For three years we’ve been following the saga of 81 Spooner Road, the Brookline property at the center of a contentious zoning dispute and, more recently, an arson investigation.  See our original post here, and our follow-ups here, here and here.  Now, a trio of Northeastern University journalism students under the supervision of their professor – former Boston

In an “unpublished” decision issued last week in Hambley v. Dalzell (pdf), a panel of the Appeals Court reversed a Superior Court decision that upheld a zoning board’s approval of a change in a lawful nonconforming use.  Rejecting the Superior Court’s deferential analysis, the panel ruled that a 1988 change in the use of the property to a machine shop was not “substantially

We reported in November, 2010 on the Appeals Court’s decision in Shirley Wayside L.P. v. Board of Appeals of Shirley (pdf)To our surprise, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) granted further appellate review and, in a decision (pdf) issued earlier this month, the SJC reversed the Appeals Court.trailer park

The facts of the case aren’t unusual.  The defendant

Yesterday at 7:15 a.m. a giant excavator began tearing down Wayne Johnson’s 5,000 square-foot seaside home, which stood at the center of a 16-year zoning battle in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  The dispute is described in our related post here.  A sampling of local news coverage, including some dramatic video of the demolition, can be found here and here (