A few years ago, I posted a two-part review of the state of the law for standing under the Zoning Act. Standing refers to a claimant's legal right to bring a claim. Not every person has the right to bring every claim. As previously discussed, this principle is especially true and significant in zoning appeals brought by neighbors, abutting property owners, rather than by applicant property owners. While the decisional law has not substantially changed since my post from 2015, our office recently encountered a case that involved some interesting questions about standing under G. L. c. 40A:
There are times when a residential or commercial property owner will need to request a variance in order to use the land in a way that is usually not permitted by the zoning ordinance. For the landowner, there is a lot on the line and he or she must show exactly how the request meets local and state zoning laws. This is where an attorney can step in, to help protect the landowner's interests and rights.
When attempting to establish property rights, disputes can arise for any number of reasons. A neighbor could call into question a property line, or an adjacent owner could want to take legal action over a structure on or near the property. Alternatively, the tables may be reversed and you may want the neighbor off your property or the structure taken down or moved. Either way, a property dispute is a legal issue and it must be resolved.
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.
As always, the real estate market is unpredictable. While looking at the neighborhood and county level, Boston Globe findings demonstrated in recent years that there has been recovery in certain markets while stagnant or nonexistent growth in other Boston area localities.
A pending commercial real estate transaction may involve between $5 billion to $6 billion changing hands. This deal involves a number of large investors including Blackstone Group LP vying for an apartment complex that contains 11,200 units. "There's been a tremendous demand for multifamily as homeownership rates have declined," said on real estate debt analyst. However, there also is a challenge for the new owners to keep rates for the tenants affordable in order to achieve success.
While banks are attempting to take advantage of Boston's commercial real estate market, there are concerns regarding another possible real estate bubble. Lending by the Boston area's 25 largest banks has risen by approximately 40 percent over the past three years. The national average during this same period was 16 percent.
Today we offer a quick refresher of sorts. When it comes to real estate development-whether it be incorporating a new use, building a structure, or somehow otherwise modifying the existing conditions on site-there are several sources of laws and other "restrictions" that the developer and/or landowner should be aware of in advance. These include the following:
Real estate taxes, insurance and utilities comprise expenses that we all have come to expect as necessary incidents of property ownership. Many cities and towns in Massachusetts, however, also impose user fees for municipal services, as part of the development process, or on an ongoing basis once properties have been developed. These fees are not always legal.
We recently had an opportunity to talk with traffic engineer, Ron Müller, P.E., of Ron Müller & Associates, Traffic Engineering and Consulting Services, based out of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to get a better understanding of his profession. Here is an excerpt from our conversation.