Posts tagged "1113314"

Pelullo v. Croft, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-133-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   13-P-28                                         Appeals Court    ANTHONY PELULLO, trustee,[1]  vs.  PAUL R. CROFT & another.[2] No. 13-P-28.     October 22, 2014. Zoning, Board of appeals:  decision, Building inspector, Issuance of permit, Judicial review, Lot.  Practice, Civil, Zoning appeal, Summary judgment.  Words, “Lot depth.”      The sole issue before us is the correct interpretation of a provision of the town of Natick’s (Natick) zoning by-law which requires a minimum lot depth of 125 feet for the construction of a single family home in a residential zoning district known as an “RSA” district.  Natick Zoning Bylaws, Table IV-B, Intensity Regulations by Zoning District (2008) (by-law).  The term “lot depth” is not defined in the by-law. However, the by-law provides that undefined terms “shall have their ordinarily accepted meanings or such as the context may imply.”  For substantially the same reasons stated by the Land Court judge in his memorandum of decision allowing the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, we affirm.[3]   The essential facts are not in dispute.  On July 12, 2010, the defendant, Paul R. Croft, applied to Natick’s building inspector for a permit to construct a single family home at 15 Upland Road in Natick (lot 1A).  The plaintiff, an abutter, filed an opposition on grounds that lot 1A did not meet the by-law’s minimum 125 foot lot depth requirement.  The building inspector issued the permit reasoning that in cases involving “odd-shaped lots,” the “depth is determined by established practices and procedures of the Building Department which involve a calculation of lot depth on an angle in conjunction with a determination as to satisfaction of all other applicable dimensional requirements.”  The board of appeals of Natick (board) affirmed the building inspector.   The meaning of the term lot depth as used in the by-law “is a question of law . . . to be determined by the ordinary principles of statutory construction.”  Framingham Clinic, Inc. v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Framingham, 382 Mass. 283, 290 (1981).  Here, the by-law specifically states that undefined terms “shall have their ordinarily accepted meanings or such as the context may imply.”  This provision is not a license to give undefined terms in a municipal by-law a meaning that suits the personal views of those charged with its enforcement.  Rather, in such cases an undefined term like lot depth must be given “a reasonable construction.”  Kramer v. Zoning […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 22, 2014 at 4:37 pm

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