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In the Courts
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We are in the courts when our participation can help protect wetlands, open space, and biological diversity. Sometimes we file in court with other conservation or environmental organizations. These are recent examples of our legal advocacy:

Smith v. City of Westfield - UPDATED 10/12

This case raised important issues about what conservation and park land is protected by Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution. At the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court:

  • On September 26, 2016, we filed a letter in support of the Petition for Further Appellate Review, asking the Court to take the case.
  • On March 20, 2017, we filed an amicus brief asking the Court to reverse the Appeals Court decision and find that the park land at issue in the case is protected by Article 97 without the property deed stating the land was acquired for conservation purposes.
  • On October 2, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Smith v. City of Westfield that Article 97 protection may be triggered for municipal land without formally recording at the Registry of Deeds a deed, conservation restriction, or other instrument. You can read the court’s decision HERE
  • News article with map and information HERE

New England Forestry Foundation v. Board of Assessors of the Town of Hawley

This case raised an important issue about taxation of conservation land held by a non-profit foundation. At the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court:

  • On December 20, 2013, we filed an amicus brief asking the Court to reverse the Appellate Tax Board and find that the conservation land being assessed was exempt from local taxation.

We were pleased that the SJC ruled on March 15, 2014, that the conservation land was exempt from taxation because it was being held and occupied for a charitable purpose by a nonprofit corporation.

Pepin v. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

This case raised important issues about implementation of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and the use of priority habitat designations.

  • On October 15, 2012, we filed an amicus brief at the Massachusetts Appeals Court, asking the Court to uphold the priority habitat regulations.
  • On August 19, 2013, we filed a supplemental amicus brief at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in response to a question raised by that Court (after it had taken the case from the Appeals Court) about the procedural protections that should be required when property is designated as priority habitat.

We were pleased that the SJC upheld the priority habitat regulations in its decision on February 18, 2014.

more Calendar

10/25/2017 » 10/27/2017
American Public Gardens Association Native Plants and Conservation Symposium

10/28/2017
Fall Conference 2017: MACC Academy -- Exhibitor Registration

Featured Members

Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC)
10 Juniper Road, Belmont, MA 02478
Phone: (617) 489 - 3930
Fax: (617) 489 - 3935
Email us: staff@maccweb.org

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