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Land Use

The Goulston & Storrs Land Use Litigation group has deep experience in the full range of land use and development litigation. Our extensive background in these matters produces an understanding of the perspectives, needs and goals of the many participants in the development process that permits us to focus on achieving the client's ends. Members of the Group appear frequently in trial and appellate courts and administrative proceedings involving zoning, eminent domain and reverse taking matters, subdivision, wetlands, change of special tax status, site plan, civil rights, comprehensive permit issues and a host of other permitting or land use control matters. We are continually engaged in the related areas that arise in the development context including vendor/vendee disputes, restrictive rights and development rights disputes and parcel or entity control matters.

We represent owners and developers of retail, office, industrial, residential and mixed use properties, both large and small, in communities at all points on the continuum from our urban centers to those just grappling with major development for the first time. Our clients include major developers and property owners, as well as non-profit developers and governmental agencies.

We provide pre-litigation counseling and case evaluation and advocate and conduct litigation before state and federal courts and regulatory or administrative bodies. We work with our clients to shape strategy that will focus on the realities the client faces. We seek to achieve a prompt result while providing realistic counsel as to the potential courses a case may take. We understand the relationships among the various pieces of litigation a major development project may generate and coordinate them in a coherent strategy with overall goals in mind. We regularly take cases to trial in the courts and in administrative agencies when that is what the client's circumstances require. We are experienced and adept in negotiating and crafting the often intricate multiparty settlements that characterize land use disputes.

Representative Projects and Transactions

  • Represented a national developer of affordable housing in obtaining a decision from the Supreme Judicial Court that was favorable to the client and which also established an important legal precedent that is favorable to the industry and developers in general.
  • Represented the MBTA in several eminent domain cases arising out of the MBTA’s taking of property for a new commuter rail line.
  • Represented a national developer of multifamily housing in simultaneous court and administrative appeals of permit issued under the Massachusetts comprehensive permit law which provides relief from local regulation for qualifying projects with an affordable component.
  • Represented a retail developer in court challenges to special permits and site plan approval, litigation challenging a rezoning of the site and administrative proceedings seeking review of wetlands approval, all of which were dismissed with no changes to the project after extensive discovery into sources of funding of opposition.
  • Represented a national developer in seven cases in several courts and two administrative agencies, in which we obtained judgment overturning the denial of a special permit.
  • Represented a developer overturning the denial of a special permit by an early summary judgment motion based on narrowly crafted and focused discovery requests.

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