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Zoning & Permitting - The Basics and Traps for the Unwary. Bob Fishman, Land Use, Permitting, and Development March 11, 2008. DUE DILIGENCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR A BUYER/DEVELOPER.

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Zoning & Permitting - The Basics and Traps for the Unwary


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    1. Zoning & Permitting - The Basics and Traps for the Unwary Bob Fishman, Land Use, Permitting, and Development March 11, 2008

    2. DUE DILIGENCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR A BUYER/DEVELOPER • Understand the business context, goals and constraints before undertaking a zoning and permitting analysis. Relationship to land control documentation. • Understand the political context • Understand concerns of abutters, neighborhood groups, advocacy groups, adjoining cities and towns Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    3. DUE DILIGENCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR A SELLER • What permits does buyer need? • How difficult to obtain? • How much time is reasonable for buyer to obtain them? • Will land control allow for prosecuting or defending appeals? • Impact of deposit/land control payment structure on timing and likelihood of a successful closing Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    4. DUE DILIGENCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR A LENDER AND INVESTOR • Many of the same considerations as a seller, except that there are additional considerations since a lender or investor could become the owner if a default • Understand the basics of what the zoning allows, prohibits or allows only by a discretionary permit • Is the existing use or structure non-conforming? Implications for rebuilding following a casualty? A future expansion? • Cost or operational considerations of all permit conditions – both on-site and off-site. Is the project budget adequate? • Has there been opposition or litigation? Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    5. DUE DILIGENCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR A LENDER AND INVESTOR (CONT.) • How discretionary are any permits to be obtained post-closing? • Risks of closing before all appeal periods have expired • Understand all private development-related agreements with third parties. Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    6. ORGANIZATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT • City form of government versus town form of government • Key local boards and offices • Building Inspector • Planning Board • Board of Appeals • Conservation Commission • Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting • Open vs. representative Town Meeting • City Council or Board of Aldermen and Mayor Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    7. BASICS OF A ZONING BYLAW OR ORDINANCE • Chapter 40A – The State Zoning Act (except Boston) • The Zoning Bylaw (town) or Ordinance (city) • The Zoning Map • Table of Uses • Table of Dimensional Controls • Table of Parking and Loading Controls • Other Requirements (e.g. signage, landscaping) • Separate Local Bylaws or Local Ordinances, e.g. • Wetlands • Earth Removal • Hazardous Waste • Signage Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    8. TYPES OF ZONING RELIEF • As of Right • Amendment to the Zoning Map • Amendment to the Zoning Bylaw or Ordinance (text) • Process in a town • Process in a city • Required vote • Attorney General approval of town actions • Special Permits • Public hearing • Required vote • Time lines • Appeals, standard of review • Proceeding at risk per recent permit streamlining legislation Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    9. TYPES OF ZONING RELIEF (CONT.) • Variances • Use (if allowed) • Dimensional • Public hearing • Required vote • Time lines • Appeals, standard of review • Site Plan Approval • Different types and appeal procedures • Reconstruction, Alteration or Expansion of a Non-Conforming Use or Structure • Findings • Statutes of Limitation • 6-year • 10-year Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    10. VESTING RIGHTS TO EXISTING ZONING • Plan “freezes” • 3-year Approval Not Required (ANR) plan freeze (use only) • 8-year definitive subdivision plan freeze • Special permit freezes and building permit freezes Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    11. SUBDIVISION CONTROL LAW (G.L. c.41,§§81K-81GG) • Subdivision Control • Controls the creation of buildable lots • Planning Board rules and regulations • General focus on adequacy of roads and utilities within the subdivision • Zoning – lot size and frontage • ANR Plan – adequacy of frontage – three (3) types of ways qualify • Definitive subdivision plan • Public hearing • Bond or covenant Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    12. MASSACHUSETTS ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (MEPA) G.L. c.30, §§61, 62-62H AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 301 C.M.R. §11.00 • Purpose of the Statute and Regulations • Applicability and Jurisdiction • State agency action • State financial assistance • Land transfer by a state agency • State permit or approval • Review Thresholds • Mandatory EIR • Discretion regarding EIR • Exclusions • MEPA Office/MEPA Director • Subject Matter Jurisdiction • Fail-Safe Review Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    13. MASSACHUSETTS ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (MEPA) G.L. c.30, §§61, 62-62H AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 301 C.M.R. §11.00 (CONT.) • Anti-Segmentation Rule • Environmental Notification Form (ENF) • Environmental Monitor • Review and comment periods • Agency reviews • Decision on ENF and Scope – Secretary’s Certificate • Expanded ENF. Request for a Single EIR, a special review procedure or a waiver. • Environmental Impact Reports • Draft and Final EIR’s (typical sequence) • Single EIR (rare) • Review and comment periods • Secretary’s Certificate • Waiting Period for Agencies to Issue Permits Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    14. MASSACHUSETTS ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (MEPA) G.L. c.30, §§61, 62-62H AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 301 C.M.R. §11.00 (CONT.) • Notification of Commencement of Construction for Projects Requiring an EIR • Special Review Procedures • Notice of Project Changes and Lapses of Time • Material change in a project prior to commencement • Lapse of time – 3 year and 5 year rules • Secretary’s consideration of environmental consequences and factors • Waivers • Undue hardship caused by strict compliance • No greater protection of environment • Phase 1 waiver • Section 61 Findings by Agency Issuing Permits • All feasible means used to avoid damage to the environment • Mitigation minimizes damage to the maximum extent practicable • Findings made part of the permit Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    15. MASSACHUSETTS ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (MEPA) G.L. c.30, §§61, 62-62H AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 301 C.M.R. §11.00 (CONT.) • Legal Challenges • Notice of intent to commence an action • Statutes of limitation to commence an action • Issue Preclusion • Article 80 of the Boston Zoning Code (similar to MEPA) • PNF; DPIR; FPIR; Article 80 Agreements regarding housing, jobs; Cooperation Agreement • Institutional Master Plan Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    16. WETLANDS G.L. c.131, §40 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §10.00 • Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act • Local Wetlands Bylaws • Role of Conservation Commission • Role of DEP • Resource Areas and Statutory Interests • Eights (8) statutory interests • Inland and coastal wetlands • Buffer zone • Exemptions • Riverfront Area • Intermittent v. perennial streams • High water mark • Previously developed properties • Alternatives analysis Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    17. WETLANDS G.L. c.131, §40 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §10.00 (CONT.) • Determination of Applicability • Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD) • Notice of Intent • Order of Conditions • Superseding Order of Conditions from DEP (de novo review) • Affirm, modify or reverse • Administrative Appeals within DEP • De novo; adjudicatory Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    18. WETLANDS G.L. c.131, §40 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §10.00 (CONT.) • Court Appeals • Problem of appeals when there is also a local wetlands bylaw • Stormwater Management • Nine (9) DEP standards • Stormwater Management Handbook (1997) • Best Management Practices (BMP) • Low Impact Development (LID) • Rate and volume • Pre and post development runoff • Infiltrate and detain stormwater • Sometimes, there are separate local bylaws and regulations, too • Groundwater Impacts • NPDES program/USEPA Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    19. DEP SEWER REGULATIONS (G.L. c.21, §43 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 314 C.M.R. §7.00) • Extensions and connections • Thresholds • Usually, only local approval if less than 15,000 gpd • Private Compliance Certificate if: • Between 15,000 gpd and 50,000 gpd, or • An extension of less than 1,000 feet • DEP Permit required for: • Discharge of more than 50,000 gpd, or • An extension of more than 1,000 feet • Reduction of infiltration and inflow (I/I) • Still need local sewer extension/connection permit Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    20. CHAPTER 91 TIDELANDS LICENSING G.L. c.91 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §9.00 • Colonial Ordinances of 1641-1647 • Private Tidelands • Upland owner owns land between high tide line and low tide line, subject to rights reserved to the public for fishing, fowling and navigation • Commonwealth Tidelands • Commonwealth retained ownership of tidelands seaward of low tide line or 100 rods from high tide line, whichever is further landward Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    21. CHAPTER 91 TIDELANDS LICENSING G.L. c.91 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §9.00 (CONT.) • Chapter 91 License • Originally to encourage building of wharves and placement of fill • Role of DEP • License and prescribe terms for filling tidelands, construct structures, use of fill or structures. • Tidelands = current and former submerged lands and tidal flats lying below the mean high water mark. • Substantial change in use • Regulations contain zoning – like restrictions • Ground floor to be devoted to “facilities of public accommodation” • Setbacks • Open space • Height • Public access • Requirements can be tailored to local conditions by a Municipal Harbor Plan • Designated Port Areas more restricted Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    22. CHAPTER 91 TIDELANDS LICENSING G.L. c.91 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §9.00 (CONT.) • Water Dependent and Non-Water Dependent Uses • Recent Resolution of Landlocked Tidelands Controversy • Moot decision/North Point, Cambridge. Legislation restored DEP’s regulatory exemption for existing projects (Pre – 1/1/84 filled tidelands separated from high water mark by at least 250 feet and by a public way). In the future, MEPA review, especially regarding groundwater. • Municipal Harbor Plans • Locally developed and state approved Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    23. MASSACHUSETTS ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (MESA) G.L. c.131A AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 321 C.M.R. §10.00 • Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) within Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife • Over 400 plant and animal species listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern. • Pre-Construction Review Process • Prevent a “Taking” of listed species • Broad definition, which includes alteration of habitat Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    24. MASSACHUSETTS ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (MESA) G.L. c.131A AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 321 C.M.R. §10.00 (CONT.) • Other Key Definitions and Terms: • Project • Activity • Priority Habitat • Estimated Habitat (includes wetlands) • Natural Heritage Atlas/Polygon/Priority Habitat maps/MassGIS online database • If no exemption, will project give rise to a “Take” - death or injury; disruption of nesting, breeding, feeding, or migratory activity by modification of habitat. For plants, picking, killing, transporting or cutting. • Appeal of “Take” decisions • Conservation and Management Permit if a Take • Meet 3-part test or provide funds to develop a statewide conservation recovery and protection plan Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    25. ACCESS (CURB CUT) PERMITS G.L. c.81, §21 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 720 C.M.R. §13.00 • MassHighway – access to state highways • Recent Regulations (2007) • Vehicular Access Permits – Minor, Major and Complex Permits • Non-Vehicular Access Permits (e.g. discharge of drainage; utilities within SHLO) • “Substantial Increase” in or impact on traffic • Different categories of vehicular access permits and review timelines for each category • Appeals to Chief Engineer Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    26. ACCESS (CURB CUT) PERMITS G.L. c.81, §21 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 720 C.M.R. §13.00 (CONT.) • Recording of Permits • Related Types of Permits • DCR Parkway access permits Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    27. APPEALS • Types of Appeals • To local ZBA • To DEP • To Superior Court • To Land Court • Declaratory Judgment • Certiorari • Standing • Jurisdictional • Standard for “aggrievement” – a plausible claim of a definite violation of a private right, a private property interest, or a private legal interest, supported by credible evidence • Injury different from that suffered by the public generally Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    28. APPEALS • Ten Citizens Suits • Intervention • Enjoin “damage to the environment” • Time Frames for Taking Appeals • Time to appeal is jurisdictional • Timeframes for Litigating Appeals • Mediation/Arbitration/Settlement • Land Court Permit Session • Threshold of 25 or more dwelling units or the construction or alteration of 25,000 s.f. or more of gross floor area, or both • Jurisdiction over a broad range of claims affecting real estate projects • Single judge • One of three time tracks to trial and to decision Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    29. CHAPTER 40B/COMPREHENSIVE PERMITS (G.L. c.40B §§20-23 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 760 C.M.R. §31.00) • Chapter 40B/Comprehensive Permits • Create 10% of local housing stock as affordable • Comprehensive permit issued by local ZBA in lieu of multiple local approvals. Availability of waivers. • Consistent with local needs • Uneconomic conditions • Appeal to Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) if local denial or unacceptable conditions • Problem of conflicting appeals to HAC (by applicant) and to Court (by third parties) Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    30. CHAPTER 40R SMART GROWTH OVERLAY DISTRICTS; CHAPTER 40S (G.L. c.40R AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 760 C.M.R. §59.00) • Chapter 40R Smart Growth Overlay Districts; Chapter 40S • Interplay between 40B and 40R regarding affordable housing. 40R gives municipality more control over location and quality of such housing • Encourages dense housing with affordable component as of right in smart growth type locations. “Eligible locations” definition • Incentive payments from state (1) upon adoption, and (2) upon issuance of building permits. • Encourages early negotiation of project specifics and mitigation • Build political support for local legislative vote • Design standards • Development Agreements – infrastructure, mitigation, community benefits. • Assistance with school costs (40S) • Role of DHCD • 120 day Plan Approval • More difficult for opponents to appeal – standard of review; bonds Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    31. CHAPTER 43D • Chapter 43D – Expedited Permitting • Local option • Criteria for Priority Development Sites • 180 day permitting Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    32. HAZARDOUS WASTE OVERVIEW (G.L. c.21E AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §40.0000 (MCP)) • Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Materials Release Prevention and Response Act - Chapter 21E • Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) Regulations • Licensed Site Professional (LSP) – Privatized System except for the worst sites Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    33. HAZARDOUS WASTE OVERVIEW (G.L. c.21E AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §40.0000 (MCP) (CONT.)) • DEP Audits • Phase 1 Site Assessment (ASTM Standard) • Urban Fill (TPH; PAH) • Risk Assessment; No Significant Risk • Reporting Requirements • Immediate Response Action • Release Abatement Measure • Tier Classification System. Phases I-IV. Time Lines • Permanent Solution, with or without an Activity and Use Limitation (AUL). Clean-up to “background” or not. Permitted and prohibited uses. Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com

    34. HAZARDOUS WASTE OVERVIEW (G.L. c.21E AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS AT 310 C.M.R. §40.0000 (MCP) (CONT.)) • Response Action Outcome Statements (RAO) – Class A, B, and C • Brownfields (former developed properties that may be contaminated) • State Programs to encourage reuse, such as: • Brownfields Redevelopment Access to Capital (BRAC) program. State-subsidized environmental insurance. • Brownfields Redevelopment Fund in Economically Distressed Areas • Brownfields Tax Credit • Environmental Insurance • Pollution Legal Liability Insurance • Stop Loss or “Cost Cap” Insurance • BRAC Program • Amount/Term/Deductible • Negotiation of “manuscripted” coverage with “tailored” endorsements Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP • www.nutter.com