December 6, 2021

Volume XI, Number 340

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December 06, 2021

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December 03, 2021

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Real Estate Permitting Update: Massachusetts – 6/16/21

On June 15, 2021, the state of emergency enacted by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on March 10, 2020 expired. During the state of emergency, state and local permits were extended and certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law were suspended to allow for remote participation.

In response, on June 15, 2021 the Massachusetts Legislature passed S. 2475, “An Act relative to extending certain COVID-19 measures adopted during the state of emergency,” to extend certain of the emergency measures. Among other measures, the legislation extends the ability of municipalities to conduct public meetings remotely. It does not extend the time that certain permits are in effect. On June 16, 2021 the governor signed the legislation into law.

Open Meeting Law

Governor Baker issued Order No. 1 on March 10, 2020, suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law. This Order has allowed public meetings to occur remotely, with remote participation by members of the public and members of the municipal body. The Order expired on June 15, 2021.

The new legislation allows municipal bodies to continue conducting public meetings remotely, either through “adequate, alternative means of public access,” or, if such public access is not feasible, by posting a “full and complete transcript, recording or other comprehensive record of the proceedings as soon as practicable” to the municipal website. Adequate alternate access includes telephone, internet, or any other technology allowing audio or video conferencing such that the public can clearly follow the municipal proceedings as they occur.

Despite the expiration of the emergency order, the new legislation expressly permits municipalities to conduct remote public meetings in anticipation of the passage of the legislation, which actions shall be ratified as of the adoption of the legislation. The provision expires on April 1, 2022.

©2021 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 167
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About this Author

Dan Bailey environmental, land use, real estate, and municipal law.
Partner

Dan Bailey has more than 30 years of experience in environmental, land use, real estate, and municipal law. He prides himself on offering pragmatic solutions to complicated legal matters. While Dan’s “sweet spot” is the redevelopment of commercial property, he has a strong background in all aspects of environmental and regulatory law. Dan also handles all types of real estate transactions.  

Dan has helped facilitate development of a wide range of commercial real estate projects, ranging from mixed use (retail, office, and housing), multifamily housing, athletic facilities, marinas...

617-488-8165
Paula M. Devereaux Partner Boston Commercial Real Estate Law Real Estate Land Use Environmental
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Paula Devereaux is an experienced commercial real estate and land use attorney, focusing her practice on development, zoning, permitting, planning, and environmental regulatory compliance. Paula serves as real estate counsel for a number of clients in the Greater Boston area, ranging from smaller organizations to large corporations, medical centers, retailers, and real estate firms. She regularly advises clients on Boston permitting matters, waterfront development issues, and in sales, acquisitions, and financings.

Paula is active in the real estate community, serving in leadership...

617488-8186
Donald R. Pinto, Jr., Pierce Atwood, litigation lawyer
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Don Pinto has more than 30 years of experience as a civil litigator, with a focus on complex real estate and land use disputes. He handles cases at the trial and appellate levels in the state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. Outside the courtroom Don has successfully resolved many disputes through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

Don is also the founder, editor, and one of several contributors to Massachusetts Dirt and Development Law, the firm's real estate blog.

...

(617) 488-8175
Gareth Orsmond Partner  real estate, land use, environmental and municipal law, real estate financing, affordable housing
Partner

Gareth Orsmond is a real estate lawyer with expertise in land use, environmental and municipal law, real estate financing, affordable housing, and large-scale development. Gareth’s practice encompasses commercial transactions, permitting, resolving property disputes, providing general counsel on a wide range of subjects, and litigating matters in administrative tribunals and court.

For more than 20 years, Gareth has represented diverse clientele, including developers, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. He has handled hundreds of hearings and meetings with...

617-488-8181
Joel Quick Real Estate Attorney Pierce Atwood
Associate

Joel Quick focuses his practice on land use and real estate law, providing a full array of legal services for any commercial or residential development project, including analyzing land use and local environmental regulations and appearing before public bodies to seek needed relief. Joel also negotiates and drafts any restrictions, easements, and covenants required by a municipality as a condition of approval, and, if needed, will seek amendment of affordability, conservation, and preservation restrictions. With experience acting as counsel for a number of municipalities and municipal...

617-488-8157
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