As we wind down the days of summer, let's take it easy and look at some of the interesting zoning news that's been reported this summer in just one of the several counties where we practice, Plymouth County.
As discussed in an earlier post (Intro to Variances I), there are a few necessary findings before a zoning board can grant a variance. Last time we talked about soil conditions, shape or topography that support the need for a variance. This post explores the necessity of a "substantial hardship" that will result if literal enforcement of the zoning code is required.
It is certainly not unusual to hear about tree cutting cases where a landowner wants to trim the branches of a neighbor's tree that overhang the common boundary line-which is lawful, to a point-or even those cases where a person trespasses onto the land of another to trim or cut down trees entirely situated on that lot-which is unlawful. Whatever the underlying motivation for such trimming and cutting, Massachusetts law is fairly clear about whether liability and damages will ensue under those circumstances.
Before embarking on any excavation project--including tunneling and blasting--developers and landowners should understand the often-overlooked duty they owe to neighboring properties in order to avoid nuisance or negligence liability.