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 our continuing look at the Legislature’s proposed land use reform bill, “An Act Promoting the Planning and Development of Sustainable Communities” (the Act), we turn to the subject of zoning freezes and Approval Not Required (ANR) plans.  The Act proposes significant changes to existing law governing the zoning freezes triggered by building permits, special permits, and subdivisions.  These changes are in Sections 6-12 of the

A summary of what this bill would do is here.  A few things jump right out: (1) the bill’s title, “An Act Promoting the Planning and Development of Sustainable Communities,” gives me the willies; (2) sayonara, ANR plans; (3) allows town meeting to change zoning bylaws by a simple majority, promoting instability in the law; (4) authorizes impact fees so municipalities

Gosnold is the Massachusetts town that comprises Cuttyhunk and the other Elizabeth Islands, which stretch southwest from Woods Hole (Falmouth), between Buzzard’s Bay and Vineyard Sound.  Along with Martha’s Vineyard, Gosnold is in Dukes County.  Interestingly, except for Cuttyhunk and Penikese, the Elizabeth Islands are privately owned by the Forbes family.

unfrozenIn its recent decision in Ridgeley Management

On Tuesday, October 30, 2012, my colleagues and follow MLUM authors Gareth Orsmond and Michael Parker will be presiding over the next session of MCLE’s five-week “BasicsPlus” series on Commercial Real Estate.  Gareth and Michael will be covering zoning, subdivision control, and environmental site assessments.  The session runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and takes place

In the typical definitive subdivision plan scenario, if a plan requires waivers from the planning board’s rules and regulations, the developer goes before the board on bended knee, fearful the board will either deny the plan outright or – as often happens – impose onerous conditions in exchange for granting the necessary waivers.  In Collings v. Planning Board of Stow (pdf), the Appeals Court

In Schultz v. Gately, Superior Court Judge Douglas H. Wilkins recently discovered that, “[s]urprisingly, there appears to be no clear authority on the proper avenue, if any, for challenging a determination” that a Planning Board makes in the course of monitoring compliance with an earlier approval. 

This case involved several disputes between the plaintiff home buyers and a defendant

In Nexum Development Corp. v. Planning Board of Framingham, the plaintiff developer challenged the defendant planning board’s denials of the developer’s applications for subdivision approval and for a cluster development special permit.  The Appeals Court affirmed the Superior Court’s denial of the developer’s appeal.  The Appeals Court held that, although the planning board failed identify its reasons for

In O’Brien Homes, Inc. v. Lunenberg Planning Board (pdf), Land Court Judge Keith C. Long upheld a five-acre minimum lot size requirement that the Town of Lunenberg imposes on subdivisions of more than 25 acres. iStock_000009465642XSmall.jpg

The zoning bylaw at issue (Section 5.6) is designed to encourage developers to preserve open space in developments of more than 25 acres.  In