Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Court
Shirley Wayside Limited Partnership v. Board of Appeals of Shirley
Wayside, owner of a mobile home park in the town of Shirley, sought a special permit from the town's zoning board of appeals in order to expand its mobile home park, a lawfully nonconforming use, from 65 to 75 units. The board refused to grant the special permit, finding that Wayside had failed to establish that the expansion would not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood than the existing mobile home park. The court concluded that the expansion complied with the zoning bylaw at issue, which the court interpreted as imposing minimum lot size dimensions on the entire mobile home park and not on individual mobile homes, governed only by the board of health regulations. The court further agreed with the Land Court judge that there was no evidence that either the density within the mobile home park expansion or the modest increase in traffic would be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhood. Therefore, the court affirmed the decision of the Land Court judge. View "Shirley Wayside Limited Partnership v. Board of Appeals of Shirley" on Justia Law
Board of Health of Sturbridge & others v. Board of Health of Southbridge & another.
Plaintiffs filed an appeal from a decision of the board approving a minor modification to the site assignment for an existing landfill and related processing facility pursuant to G.L.c. 30A, section 14. At issue was plaintiff's standing to seek judicial review in the Superior Court of the board's decision. The court concluded that on the record before it, plaintiffs lacked standing to seek judicial review of the board's decision in the Superior Court as persons "aggrieved" and, nevertheless, plaintiffs' substantive challenges to the decision lacked merit. View "Board of Health of Sturbridge & others v. Board of Health of Southbridge & another. " on Justia Law
Connors, Jr. v. Annino
The issue raised by this appeal concerned the threshold administrative remedy or remedies available under the Zoning Act, G.L.c. 40A, to one who was aggrieved by the issuance of a building permit to another person. The court held that where an aggrieved party had adequate notice of the building permit's issuance, he or she was required to appeal the appropriate zoning board of appeals within thirty days of the permit's issue date. In such circumstances, a later appeal to the board from a denial of a request for enforcement was not an available alternative remedy. Accordingly, the court agreed with the Land Court judge that because plaintiffs, who had adequate notice that the challenged building permits had issued to their neighbor, did not file an appeal with the zoning board of appeals within 30 days of issuance, the board, and thereafter the Land Court, lacked jurisdiction to hear plaintiffs' appeal. Accordingly, the judgment of dismissal was affirmed.
Boston Edison Co. v. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Boston Edison Company ("Boston Edison") brought an action under G.L. c. 79, 12 to recover damages caused by four eminent domain takings by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority ("MWRA") on property known as the Fore River Station ("site") in the town of Weymouth and city of Quincy. The parties raised issues related to the reasonable probability of residential development on the north parcel of land; limiting damages on the south parcel of land to those caused by the actual taking or the public project for which the taking was made; and the calculation of interest. The court held that a rational jury, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Boston Edison, reasonably could have found that it was reasonably probable that the north parcel could be rezoned for residential use and developed even though it was in a designated port area. The court also held that damages arising from a planned taking were not compensable and therefore, the jury must distinguish between damages arising from the actual taking and those arising from the planned, but unrealized, taking. The court further held that there was no error in the calculation of prejudgment or postjudgment interest where the court failed to see what basis remained for claiming the preamendment rate of interest when Boston waived any constitutional challenge to the statutory rate of interest. Accordingly, the court affirmed the rulings and remanded for further action consistent with the opinion and the judge's allowance of the motion for remittur.