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Posts tagged zoning
"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.

Read the full article.

"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.

Read the full article.