Shaevel, Krems, O'Connor & Jackowitz, LLP
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"Spot" Zoning: Land Court Foils Plans to Build Housing Complex in Swampscott

Real Estate Development Team Advisory

"Spot zoning" occurs when a particular lot of land is singled out for a different treatment under a city's zoning restrictions than that accorded to the larger zoned area. A parcel is invalidly "rezoned" for a different land use than is otherwise permitted when it is done for the sole purpose of financially benefiting the owner, and not for any legitimate public purpose.

Earlier this month, the Land Court considered whether impermissible spot zoning occurred when the Town of Swampscott attempted to rezone a parcel, owned by the town itself, to accommodate a multistory, 41-unit apartment complex in an area otherwise designated for single-family residences only. The town expected to sell the parcel to a private developer.

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