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5 steps for appealing a denied site plan in Boston

Real estate development in the Boston area can be quite complicated and starts with the proper planning. With specific land use laws in place, along with Massachusetts laws and other local regulations, many developers can find themselves facing an uphill battle before they even start.

At Phillips & Angley, Attorneys at Law, we have spent the past 40 years helping individuals and corporations as they navigate through zoning, land use and real estate litigation. We use this experience to help set land developers and property owners up for success from the very beginning.

To start the development process and obtain a permit, a review plan must be submitted to the city. With this plan, know there is a chance that the plan will be denied. If this happens, you can appeal. Here are the basic steps you should know in order to appeal:

1. Follow the deadline to appeal

You have 45 days from the date of the refusal letter to appeal. Either the applicant or a representative must file these appeals in person. A hearing date will be scheduled after the appeal is filed.

2. Appear at the hearing

You will need to appear at City Hall, but do have the right to be represented by a professional, including an attorney. This attorney will come prepared with all necessary supporting evidence for why the permit should be approved. This evidence will include everything from signed petitions, photographs, tax bills and anything else that is relevant and potentially helpful to your case.

The board could end up making their decision the same day as the hearing, or at a later date.

3. Another appeal window opens up

When a decision is made in writing from the board, this decision along with the permit application and plans are forwarded to the Inspectional Services Department, Planning and Zoning Division. This forwarding date kicks off a 20-day appeal window.

4. Plans are reviewed

A Plans Examiner will make sure plans comply with all building code requirements. Depending on the scope, some plans will also go to the Boston Redevelopment Authority for review.

5. Finalization is necessary

Once everything is approved and ready to go, you will want to make sure all paperwork is properly filed and all requirements are met. This is necessary before the issuing of the permit certificate. Without finalization, the process will need to start again from the very beginning.

Again, this is a very basic outline of the steps involved with appealing a site plan denial. The information that is collected and documented will be entirely based on the scope of the project. An attorney with experience handling real estate development will be able to assist with the planning process, along with any issues that may arise along the way.

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