Boston NIMBY Politics and Strategies

shmessy

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NIMBY's Newest Track - "But Whadddabout Tha Birds???"

To the writer's credit not actually talking ant-development - - just to mitigate the clear/reflective glass fooling the fly rodents. But I'm sure the NIMBY's will latch onto what they want from this.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/03/14/city-adds-glass-towers-birds-finding-lethal-obstacles-flight/nKRNv6RPCJbz87koMYkaEP/story.html

"The proliferation of glassy towers is making Boston a more dangerous place for birds, according to a prominent environmental group, and it wants the city and developers to do something about it.

Mass Audubon is calling attention to the issue — long a concern of urban bird advocates — as the owners of One Post Office Square push ahead with plans to replace the 41-story tower’s concrete facade with glass panels. The group worries the $250 million project could be a deadly magnet for birds that mistake its reflective surface for open sky........"
 
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Equilibria

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Sanders, B, is no NIMBY. As mayor, he helped to spearhead redevelopment up in Burlington. You just wanted to use the opportunity to bash Sanders, B on an unrelated thread.
No - if I wanted to bash him on Suffolk Downs, I'd do it there. Our Revolution has been supporting NIMBY efforts all over the Boston Area for the past 5 years.
 
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Equilibria

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Provide some examples, please
The contingent of candidates in Somerville funded by Our Revolution is a good example. For what it's worth, one of those guys came out yesterday against Bernie interfering in Eastie.
 

George_Apley

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The contingent of candidates in Somerville funded by Our Revolution is a good example. For what it's worth, one of those guys came out yesterday against Bernie interfering in Eastie.
To be fair to the 'Our Revolution' Somerville City Councillors, they haven't done much to harm development.
 

atlantaden

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I would hope that this ruling will reign in some of the lawsuits by NIMBY neighbors against residential projects when they complain about density, traffic, views, etc.
 

Vivanna

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I would hope that this ruling will reign in some of the lawsuits by NIMBY neighbors against residential projects when they complain about density, traffic, views, etc.
Agreed, this is a huge blow to NIMBY's across the State. Haven't read the briefs but not sure if it will be helpful to Chaifaro and the State in their lawsuit with CLF. The good news is that CLF are transactional, so I'm sure Chaifaro will be able to negotiate a payoff rather than being tied up in court for 5 years or more.
 

stellarfun

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I would hope that this ruling will reign in some of the lawsuits by NIMBY neighbors against residential projects when they complain about density, traffic, views, etc.
This case was an aberration. In the original suit by a neighbor, the Land Court judge ruled the neighbor basically lacked standing to sue because the neighbor could not show harm. Neighbor appealed, and an appeals court ruled that simply being a neighbor was sufficient to give the neighbor standing.

On appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court, that court tossed out the appeal court decision. The manner in which the SJC reversed the decision was, IMO, a judicial spanking of the appeals court. Sort of, 'enough of this nonsense.' The law is back to what it was prior to the aberrant appeals court decision, and NIMBYs and everyone else are back playing on the same field as before. The SJC ruled that the Land Court judge had applied the law properly.
 

George_Apley

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This case was an aberration. In the original suit by a neighbor, the Land Court judge ruled the neighbor basically lacked standing to sue because the neighbor could not show harm. Neighbor appealed, and an appeals court ruled that simply being a neighbor was sufficient to give the neighbor standing.

On appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court, that court tossed out the appeal court decision. The manner in which the SJC reversed the decision was, IMO, a judicial spanking of the appeals court. Sort of, 'enough of this nonsense.' The law is back to what it was prior to the aberrant appeals court decision, and NIMBYs and everyone else are back playing on the same field as before. The SJC ruled that the Land Court judge had applied the law properly.
Right. It's more an instance of avoiding a devastating new precedent. Not being an expert in land court standing, was "demonstrable harm" the standard before the appellate decision that prompted this review?
 

stellarfun

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Right. It's more an instance of avoiding a devastating new precedent. Not being an expert in land court standing, was "demonstrable harm" the standard before the appellate decision that prompted this review?
Below are excerpts from plaintiff's brief to the SJC. (The plaintiff referenced in the excerpts is the aggrieved neighbor; the neighbor becomes the appellant at the SJC.)

.... As the Appeals Court concluded in Murchison at 161, identification of a protected interest in this case, "prevents no obstacle to the plaintiffs' claim. Many cases hold that the prevention of overcrowding (sometimes referred to as "density") is an interest protected by the Zoning Act. See, e.g. Picard, 474 Mass. at 574 (referring to "density" as "typical zoning concern []"); Aiello v. Planning Bd. of Braintree, 91 Mass. App. Ct. 354, 364 (2017) quoting Sheppard v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Boston, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 8, 12 (2009) ("crowding of an abutter's residential property by violation of the density provisions of the zoning by-law will generally constitute harm sufficiently perceptible and personal to qualify the abutter as aggrieved and thereby confer standing to maintain a zoning appeal"); Dwyer v. Gallo, 73 Mass. App. Ct. 292, 297 (2008)

The Plaintiffs introduced evidence that Lot 69F [owned by the appellee who is seeking to build a house] was on a steep hill, with a topographic change of at least 20 feet from Lake Street (a scenic road) to the house site and over 60 feet from Lake Street to the midpoint of the Lot 69F’s depth. (R. I - 349, 415-416, R. II 8-9, R. III-35-37, 76). As Plaintiff Robert Murchison testified, the proposed development of Lot 69F would negatively impact their light, air, open space, density, would increase noise and traffic, and would negatively affect their property value.

With respect to the proposed construction of the house on Lot 69F, Plaintiff Robert Murchison testified that the existing neighboring homes were respectively 280 and 600 feet away (R.I. 355-356) and "this house is going to be approximately 180 feet from our house and that is much closer than existing houses in the neighborhood, and I think it's going to significantly change the look and feel and the density and the overall feeling of privacy on our property."6 (R. I - 416).

The concerns of the Plaintiffs are unique and different from the concerns of the rest of the community. The Murchison Plaintiffs would be the ones who would suffer particularized injury, special and different from the concerns of the rest of the community, as their injury - the looming new house on the hill impacting their existing house and privacy -would be uniquely personal;
.....
The particular harm to the Plaintiffs is plain and obvious. If they are right with respect to the application of the lot width bylaw standard as it applies to the front setback line, (R. II-4), then no house can be built on Lot 69F at all. They would be harmed if a house could be constructed on the lot in violation of the Sherborn By-Law and they would suffer overcrowding and diminishment of open space, and attendant noise.
As the SJC has yet to write an opinion explaining its reversal of the appeals count and affirming the decision of the Land Court, my interpretation is that the SJC concluded that if it adopted a 'density' standard as formulated by the plaintiff, virtually nothing could be built in the Commonwealth because an abutting party would have standing given the loss of privacy, viewsheds, open space, light, etc etc.that would result from new construction.
 
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atlantaden

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"Density-related" harm (caused to a family if a home was built on the 3 acre wooded lot across the street from their home which also sits on a 3 acre lot). Such a great term, totally ridiculous IMO, but clever just the same.
So, does the plaintiff, (in this case the losing party) have to pay the attorney's and court costs of the winning party, or is that left up to the presiding judge to decide since this case seems to be such a frivolous lawsuit, it almost begs some sort of punishment for the party that brought the suit to begin with.
 

stellarfun

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"Density-related" harm (caused to a family if a home was built on the 3 acre wooded lot across the street from their home which also sits on a 3 acre lot). Such a great term, totally ridiculous IMO, but clever just the same.
So, does the plaintiff, (in this case the losing party) have to pay the attorney's and court costs of the winning party, or is that left up to the presiding judge to decide since this case seems to be such a frivolous lawsuit, it almost begs some sort of punishment for the party that brought the suit to begin with.
As the plaintiff 'won' in the court of appeals, it would be hard to categorize his lawsuit as 'frivolous'.

The owners of the land in dispute are both lawyers with ties to a prominent law firm. (They were proposing to subdivide a portion of their land and sell it to a third party who would build a house.)

The plaintiff had a presumably successful career at a prominent Boston financial services firm and most recently developed, or is developing, senior housing in Sherborn. (The irony of a 'dense' senior housing cluster is not to be lost.)

The link to Google maps shows the plaintiff's property on the left. The lot to be sold is presumably the wooded area across from it. A Google aerial map shows a cleared area not visible from streetview.


Boiled down though, this is a dispute between two wealthy neighbors, both of whom can afford to spar.
 

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