Phillips & Angley

Massachusetts Land Use Blog

We can help when easements result in right of way disputes

Being a land owner or property owner is not only a respectable accomplishment, but a big responsibility. Not all property owners in Massachusetts use their land or property for personal uses. Some decide to open their property up to the public or open their property to other parties with an easement agreement. However, these agreements can go awry if a dispute about the land causes a rift between the parties.

For example, there could be a dispute regarding the boundaries of the easement. Other disputes arise when on party claims the other overused or overburdened the easement. And, sometimes, a party wants to relocate the easement.

Buying property with variance or nonconforming use

If you are looking to move your business to a new property, you may have limited choices in your Massachusetts town. In addition to finding a place that suits the purposes of your business, you will have to consider the zoning regulations for the properties on your list. Zoning places restrictions on the way you can use properties in certain areas.

When you find a building that is ideal for your business, you will want to carefully investigate the zoning guidelines. Understanding the regulations related to zoning is important, especially when it comes to terms such as variance or nonconformance. Will you need a variance for your new business, or is the property already nonconforming with current zoning laws?

Land use consultant to be hired, will plan Boston's development

The Boston Planning and Development Agency has big plans for Boston's city development over the next decade. There has been much talk of how to leverage the real estate opportunities to make Boston a better home for everyone, residents and businesses alike. East Boston has been targeted for the initiative.

The project, Imagine Boston 2030, has efforts to "preserve, enhance and grow" the neighborhood. The city is seeking a land use consultant to join the team in growing this project. The existing Eastie community groups wants to be heard, as do other stakeholders. The city plans to work closely with all concerned by the project, the person hired will follow the guiding principles of "preserves wisely, enhances equitably and grows inclusively, in terms of the Imagine Boston 2030 project.

Could restrictive covenants have you rethinking development?

When building in Middlesex County, it is important to understand the laws of the area and whether any restrictions on the land apply. As a real estate developer, you certainly do not want to land in hot water because your project did not stay in line with certain expectations.

In particular, restrictive covenants can apply to the purchase of land and the development of new communities. These covenants could affect anyone, such as you as the developer or individuals hoping to purchase a home in the area. Because restrictive covenants apply to the land itself and not the particular owners, you could face certain restrictions.

Does a real estate permit pertain to conducting your business?

Whether you are an established business looking to expand into new markets or into other facets of the business, or a new business looking to get off the ground, permits can affect your day-to-day operations. Every business in Massachusetts is different, and some will be subject to more regulations than others. What regulations a business must comply with depends on the industry and scope of business activities. Whether you are renting a space or breaking ground on a new facility, every business has its own needs in terms of real estate permits.

It can be hard to understand all the possible permits that can apply to your specific industry. Even identical business operations, happening in two separate cities or states, can have entirely different regulations to comply with. That's why it's important to understand this before getting into a real estate contract or before purchasing land that doesn't work well in terms of regulation and your business' objectives.

Don't navigate the process of real estate permits alone

Moving through the land development process requires tenacity, strategy, and many, many permits. Navigating this path of alone can bring up several types of legal troubles that can quickly derail the project if not handled correctly. That's why it's important to have experienced assistance on your side during a land development project.

At Phillips & Angely, we understand the difficulties and frustrations these types of projects hold. That's why we work diligently to help our clients move forward with confidence and a clear plan of action. We have experience pursing real estate necessities such as special permits, variances, definitive subdivision plan approval, lots and structures, eminent domain proceedings, and more common issues. Our knowledge in this realm often leads to quick resolutions to these situations, but there are times when that is not possible and other tactics must be used.

Your rights when utilities have easements on your land

Purchasing real estate can be risky, whether it is for development or residential use. While you may test the soil and investigate the drainage, you may not always know what you are getting, and problems that arise after you begin construction can be devastating to your project.

Your property may have one factor that may raise concerns, and that is the existence of an easement. There are numerous kinds of easements, some of which restrict what you can do with the property. However, a utility easement includes the probability of workers needing to use your property for repair and maintenance. The question you may have is whether it is worth it to purchase a property with a utility easement.

Does your land access dispute have you at wits' end?

When you own a piece of property in Massachusetts, there is no better feeling than the freedom to do what you want with it. However, if you have been involved in a land access dispute, or some other issue in terms of what you or others are doing on your land, you may be frustrated with the situation. If you are looking to conduct business, but have been barred from doing so on the property you own due to land use and zoning laws, it may be time to petition the city or state.

Living in the United States, we are granted many freedoms. If you own property, you may think these freedoms extend from each corner of your property. However, a zoning law or some other restriction set by the city or state could limit the activities you can conduct on your property. For example, you may have plans to run a business on your property, and therefore you may want to make your property a commercially zoned piece of property.

What purpose does title insurance serve?

When you purchase a home here in Boston, you expect that you are the only person with rights to the land. After all, you are buying it, so why wouldn't you be the owner? You may recognize that certain easements exist on the property for things such as utilities, but other than that, you believe no one else has the right to the title of the land.

Unfortunately, mistakes in the chain of title could preclude you from owning the property alone. This is where title insurance comes into play.

Zoning laws could limit marijuana distribution

With a marijuana industry booming across the country, many states and cities seem to be eager to get in on the action. Boston is no exception, but city councilors will have to decide how it will be impacted by land use and zoning laws. Nothing specific exists for marijuana sales yet, however, there are proponents who argue that there should be zoning regulations for where these marijuana shops can be set up and conduct business. If it's within a significant proximity to drug rehab or a treatment facility, the sale of marijuana could be banned.

This is what's known as a zoning regulation. Proponents argue that there shouldn't be marijuana readily for sale so near to a treatment facility. For those who struggle with drug addiction, it's understandable why some may make this argument. However, most of the concern is about opioid addiction, one of the most debilitating issues of the American public in recent years.

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