As most Massachusetts residents and land use attorneys know, new residential construction is often met with a host of challenges and opposition. This is certainly the situation in many of the more desirable locations where developable land is seemingly at a premium, including, no less, Nantucket, where even a small ANR (Approval Not Required) project recently faced abutter opposition.
Sometimes you just run across decided cases that are so full of concise, black letter law, well-reasoned issues of first impression and multiple, alternate law-based rationales supporting the decision (read: iron-clad), that you have to share them. Sullivan v. O'Connor, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 200 (2012), decided almost a year ago in January, is one of those cases.
Earlier this month, the SJC remanded an interesting easement case back to the Land Court and ordered the Land Court judge (Piper, J.) to take a second look at the width of the easement that he had laid out to the extent that it conflicted with local subdivision road regulations.
Subdivision developers should think twice about relying on engineering firms/consultants retained by planning boards to disclose any deficient work. Even if that failure to disclose problems later leads to costly re-construction and repairs, there may be no legal recourse against the town's engineer.