"Your building will destroy my view!" Can the Abutter Sue?
Real Estate Development Team Advisory
In Massachusetts, where many cities and towns are densely populated, one of the most common complaints of abutters to new development is concern about potential loss of view. The reality is that almost every proposed development has a negative impact on some abutter's view; but under Massachusetts law, before a lawsuit will be considered by the courts, abutters must prove that they have "standing." That is, abutters must show specific facts that establish a violation of a legal right and an injury special and different from that of the general public. In order to establish standing in a lawsuit related to the diminishment of a view, abutters must either show that views are protected in the zoning bylaw or they must set forth some other violation of a legal interest, such as the decrease in the value of the abutter's property.
Two recent Massachusetts court cases have dealt with this difficult issue of the loss of view and the right to sue.