Appealing a zoning board decision is an option available for anyone who has received an unfavorable zoning decision, or who is harmed by someone else’s zoning matter.
This blog post does not cover zoning matters in the City of Boston. Zoning in Boston falls under a different set of rules and is slightly different. I’ll write about Boston zoning in a future blog post.
Who Can Appeal?
A “person aggrieved” by a decision from a zoning board is entitled to appeal such a decision. This requirement is known as standing: one must have a real interest in the outcome of the zoning board to pursue an appeal.
This is a critical point about appealing a zoning board decision. Not just anyone can pursue such a matter; one needs to show aggrievement. Failure to do so will be fatal to a zoning appeal.
What is the Deadline for Appealing a Zoning Board Decision?
Zoning appeals come with incredibly tight deadlines. Most often, such a case must be filed within twenty days after the zoning decision is filed with the city or town clerk.
This is a “hard and fast” deadline: there are few, if any, exceptions allowed for the late filing of such an appeal.
Zoning appeals are generally filed in either Superior Court or Land Court, with advantages and disadvantages for pursuing such a case in each court.
Considerations for An Appeal
A major consideration for a zoning appeal is the likelihood of success in such a matter. The law gives zoning boards wide discretion in the decisions they make. However, such relief needs to have supporting basis in law and fact.
Variances, in particular, have detailed requirements to obtain, and a failure to meet each of these criteria can be grounds for a viable appeal.
Reviewing a zoning board decision with an experienced attorney is critical before making a decision to appeal.
I’ve helped many Massachusetts property owners pursue and defend zoning appeals. If you need assistance with such a matter, contact me for a consultation.