Posts tagged "Sheffield"

Hanlon v. Town of Sheffield (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-052-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   15-P-799                                        Appeals Court   JOHN R. HANLON, JR.  vs.  TOWN OF SHEFFIELD & others.[1] No. 15-P-799. Suffolk.     March 7, 2016. – May 13, 2016.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Katzmann, & Grainger, JJ. Zoning, Private airstrip, Validity of by-law or ordinance.  Statute, Construction.  Municipal Corporations, By-laws and ordinances.       Civil action commenced in the Land Court Department on March 21, 2012.   The case was heard by Howard P. Speicher, J., on a motion for summary judgment.     Alexandra H. Glover for the plaintiff. Peter Sacks, State Solicitor, for Department of Transportation, amicus curiae.      GRAINGER, J.  The plaintiff John R. Hanlon, Jr., appeals from summary judgment entered in favor of the defendants, ruling that the town of Sheffield (town) was authorized to regulate the plaintiff’s use of his property as a private noncommercial aircraft landing area notwithstanding the regulatory authority of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation aeronautics division (division).[2]  In reversing the judgment we acknowledge that the motion judge was confronted, as are we, with statutory language in G. L. c. 90, § 39B, that undermines the evident purpose of the statute, and we note that this is an appropriate subject for corrective legislation.[3] Background.  The facts are undisputed.  The plaintiff owns approximately thirty-eight acres of land (property) in the town, containing the plaintiff’s residence and a number of outbuildings suitable for storage of small airplanes.  On the property, the plaintiff created a strip eighty feet wide by 1,250 feet long for takeoff and landing of airplanes and, since at least 2006, has operated aircraft from the property as a hobby.  In 2006, the plaintiff registered the property with the Federal Aviation Administration as a helipad.  Pursuant to G. L. c. 90, § 39B, fourth par., he also registered the property as a noncommercial private restricted landing area (PRLA) with the division.  He neither sought nor received any approval from the town with respect to the PRLA. The property is located in a rural district under the town zoning by-law.  Section 3.1 of the by-law provides that land  may not be “used except as set forth in the . . . Table of Use Regulations.”  The section further provides that “[a]ny . . . use of premises not herein expressly permitted is hereby prohibited.”  Although “commercial airfield” is listed as a prohibited use in rural districts, the Table of Use Regulations contains no mention of noncommercial […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm

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