In an “unpublished” decision issued last week in Hambley v. Dalzell (pdf), a panel of the Appeals Court reversed a Superior Court decision that upheld a zoning board’s approval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 (

Wayne Johnson’s epic battle to save his house from the wrecking ball appears to have come to an end, after 16 years of litigation involving four different Land Court Judges.  In his November, 2011 decision in Schey v. Johnson (pdf), Judge Keith Long ordered the demolition of Johnson’s wrecking ballwaterfront residence in Marblehead.  To ensure compliance, Judge Long ordered Johnson to

In 2007, when the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decided Rourke v. Rothman (pdf), it seemed clear that the court was endorsing the principle that a local bylaw exemption from the effects of the common law zoning merger doctrine could itself give rise to grandfathering protection under M.G.L. c. 40A, sec. 6 (pdf) (Section 6).  A recent Appeals Court decision, Kimmett v. Town of Tolland

Believing that excessive off-street parking has a negative impact on the character of residential neighborhoods, the Town of Barnstable adopted a general bylaw that limits the number of vehicles that can be parked overnight in residential districts.  A disgruntled resident filed suit, alleging that the town was attempting to impose a zoning regulation without complying with the procedures in M.G. L. c.

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has granted further appellate review and is requesting amicus briefs in the case of Shirley Wayside, L.P. v. Board of Appeals of Shirley.  In this case, the Appeals Court upheld the defendant zoning board’s denial of a permit that would allow the plaintiff to expand a lawfully nonconforming mobile home park.  Our prior

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