Posts tagged "1015517"

Smith, et al. v. City of Westfield, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-155-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-12243   VIRGINIA B. SMITH & others[1]  vs.  CITY OF WESTFIELD & others.[2]       Hampden.     April 6, 2017. – October 2, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.[3]     Municipal Corporations, Parks, Use of municipal property.  Parks and Parkways.  Constitutional Law, Taking of property.  Due Process of Law, Taking of property.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 27, 2012.   The case was heard by Daniel A. Ford, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Thomas A. Kenefick, III (Mary Patryn also present) for the plaintiffs. Seth Schofield, Assistant Attorney General, for the Commonwealth, amicus curiae. Anthony I. Wilson (John T. Liebel also present) for city of Westfield. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Luke H. Legere & Gregor I. McGregor for Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, Inc. Edward J. DeWitt for Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Inc. Sanjoy Mahajan, pro se. Phelps T. Turner for Conservation Law Foundation. Jeffrey R. Porter & Colin G. Van Dyke for Trustees of Reservations & others.     GANTS, C.J.  Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, approved by the Legislature and ratified by the voters in 1972, provides that “[l]ands and easements taken or acquired” for conservation purposes “shall not be used for other purposes or otherwise disposed of” without the approval of a two-thirds roll call vote of each branch of the Legislature.  The issue on appeal is whether a proposed change in use of municipal parkland may be governed by art. 97 where the land was not taken by eminent domain and where there is no restriction recorded in the registry of deeds that limits its use to conservation or recreational purposes.  We conclude that there are circumstances where municipal parkland may be protected by art. 97 without any such recorded restriction, provided the land has been dedicated as a public park.  A city or town dedicates land as a public park where there is a clear and unequivocal intent to dedicate the land permanently as a public park and where the public accepts such use by actually using the land as a public park.  Because the municipal land at issue in this case has been dedicated as a […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 2, 2017 at 4:58 pm

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