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Massachusetts Zoning & Land Use Blog

It's your land, isn't it? The answer could be yes and no

You want to purchase a piece of property. As you review the deed and legal description of the property, you discover that someone else has the right to use a portion of it. Easements are fairly common, but that does not mean that you shouldn't review them to determine how they will affect your use of the property.

An easement allows another party to use part of your land for some purpose. You retain ownership of the property. In some cases, you might continue to use the property, but in others, you may not.

Clouds and disputes: When a title search reveals trouble

You have found the property for which you've been looking. Whether you intend to purchase a new home or a building for your business, it is not easy to find the place that has everything on your wish list. When you do, you certainly want to act quickly to secure the property.

The transfer of real estate titles is complex. Proving the current owner has the legal right to sell the property is one of the most important aspects of a real estate sale. A comprehensive title search typically reveals any issues that may complicate the sale. When research into the history of the property reveals that someone else may have a claim to it, real estate law says there is a cloud on the title.

PRIVATE WAY MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS, PART I: COMMON LAW

Massachusetts contains thousands of private streets and ways; on and along those ways innumerable residents of this Commonwealth live. We know that the Derelict Fee Statute operates to resolve ownership questions regarding these private ways. However, the "statute pertains only to the question of ownership of the fee [in a private way]"; it does not govern use, maintenance, or other rights and/or obligations over a way, which, for the purposes of this blog post, fall within the province of the common law of easements. Adams v. Planning Bd. of Westwood, 64 Mass. App. Ct. 383, 389 (2005).

A denied building permit is not the end of your options

Boston is a historical city, and there are dozens of important historical sites and old valuable properties scattered across the city. Because of this, the city authorities uphold a strict zoning code in order to protect the history of Boston, the integrity of neighborhoods and the preservation of certain buildings.

Phillips & Angley Successfully Defeats Summary Judgment in ZBA Failure to Send Notice of Remand Hearings to Party-In-Interest in Land Court

On February 13, 2017, the Land Court, Scheier, J., issued an Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment in Heller v. Conner et al., Land Court Docket No. 15 MISC 0000481 (KFS) in which the court denied a motion for summary judgment against the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Plymouth (the "Board"), and P&A's client, Kingstown Corporation ("Kingstown"). The order rejected the plaintiffs' claim that the failure to mail notice of a zoning hearing to a party-in-interest was a fatal flaw in the public hearing process prescribed by G. L. c. 40A § 11, where that party-in-interest is a plaintiff in the ongoing de novo appeal of the permitting issued through that process.

Starting a business? Choosing the right location is key.

There are many things to consider when starting a business, and one of the most important is choosing the right location. Location is the key element in any real estate transaction, and, like buying a home, it is important to put the effort and time into researching, budgeting and making the best choice for the success and longevity of your Massachusetts small business.

Phillips & Angley Successfully Defend Adverse Possession and Prescriptive Easement Claims in the Land Court

On January 4, 2017, the Land Court, Scheier J., issued a decision in Stafford v. Flett, Land Court Docket No. 15 MISC 000134 (KFS), which granted declaratory judgment to P&A's client, the Defendant, declaring that she owns outright an area of her property that included a parking spot, grassy slope, staircase, and cobblestones and flagstones pavers (the "Disputed Area"), free and clear of any of the Plaintiff's claims. In its decision, the Court denied the Plaintiff's claims for adverse possession of or, in the alternative, a prescriptive easement over the Disputed Area. The Court agreed that the element of adverse use required for claims for adverse possession and prescriptive use rights was not established by the Plaintiff due to an oral license agreement allowing Plaintiff to use the Disputed Area, which agreement had been in place since the putatively-adverse use had begun.

Phillips & Angley Win Summary Judgment on Judicial Estoppel, Recoupment, and Quantum Meruit in Land Court

On November 14, 2016, the Land Court, Foster J., issued a Memorandum and Order Allowing Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment in Fitchburg Capital, LLC, v. Bourque, Land Court Docket No. 12 MISC 464577 (RBF) in which the Court granted summary judgment for P&A's client, Plaintiff, Fitchburg Capital, LLC. The Memorandum and Order dismissed the Defendant's counterclaims for recovery of rental income pursuant to theories of conversion and accounting. In doing so, the Court agreed with Fitchburg that the Defendant's counterclaims were barred by all of three asserted bases: judicial estoppel, recoupment, and quantum meruit (unjust enrichment). Fitchburg's motion was successfully argued by Robert K. Hopkins, Esq.

Appealing a denied project with the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals

Getting the news that your real estate project was denied by the zoning board is frustrating. When you put a lot of time and effort into something only to learn that it may not come to fruition, it can be exasperating.

Fortunately, a denied project is not the end of the road. You can keep pushing forward by appealing the ruling. In today's post, we will take you through the process of appealing a decision made by the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals.