Our Zoning and Permitting Practice represents real estate owners, developers, tenants, and other interested parties in a wide variety of zoning, permitting, compliance, and dispute resolution matters. Our Zoning and Permitting attorneys are highly experienced, multidisciplinary professionals who assist clients in deciding whether to make acquisitions, obtaining zoning relief and other permits to expand or redevelop properties, and ensuring that ongoing operations are in compliance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. They also represent clients in prosecuting or defending administrative and court challenges to the uses of land and buildings. We work with clients to coordinate the acquisition, permitting, remediation, and other aspects of project development. Where neighbor or special interest group challenges seem likely, our Permitting and Litigation attorneys work together to reduce opportunities for challenges and to aggressively defend projects when necessary.
In addition to expertise with the specific zoning requirements of individual communities including Boston, Cambridge, Hingham, Newburyport, Waltham, Weston, and towns throughout Cape Cod, our attorneys also have extensive experience with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), the Wetlands Protection Act, the Cape Cod Commission, state and local historic commission regulations, Title 5, and numerous other local and state permitting regimes. One of our practice group members is co-chair of the Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts (REBA) Land Use and Zoning Committee. Another was Land Use Counsel for the Boston Redevelopment Authority before co-founding our firm. A third is a former member of the Amesbury Zoning Board of Appeals.
Our extensive experience allows us to represent our clients in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner, while focusing on their ultimate goal of getting their projects built. Some of the services we provide include:
- Reviewing zoning requirements and building histories in connection with acquisitions to determine whether existing buildings comply with zoning, and to identify expansion or redevelopment potential;
- Obtaining subdivision approvals, including shepherding registered land plans through Land Court Engineering review;
- Obtaining “Section 6” findings for the expansion or alteration of nonconforming uses and structures;
- Obtaining site plan approvals, variances, and special permits for [re]development projects;
- Obtaining variances, conditional use permits, Planned Development Area and Large Project Review approvals, and other relief under the Boston Zoning Code;
- Shepherding projects through the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review process, including obtaining Phase I waivers and waivers of mandatory Environmental Impact Reports;
- Defending project zoning relief and other permits from administrative appeals and court challenges by neighbors, special interest groups, and other third parties; and
- Representing clients in matters before the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board.
Examples of zoning/permitting matters in which we have represented clients include:
- Redevelopment and expansion of early 1900s mercantile building into LEED Gold headquarters for a prominent architecture firm, for which we obtained Planned Development Area approval under Boston Zoning Code;
- Redevelopment of a suburban research campus, for which we obtained a master plan special permit, MEPA review including Phase One waiver for the initial building and multiple orders of conditions for work within the flood plain;
- Obtaining Large Project Review approval under the Boston Zoning Code and a waiver of the mandatory MEPA Environmental Impact Report for a major Boston hotel project; and
- Development of premier Cape Cod golf course community and resort in all aspects of residential, recreational, and commercial development including land use permitting, neighborhood and condominium formation, state and federal regulatory compliance, land use litigation, and conveyancing.