News & Analysis as of

Municipalities

9th Edition Massachusetts State Building Code Approved With Concurrency Period

by Goulston & Storrs PC on

The long-awaited 9th Edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code has been approved by the Massachusetts State Board of Building Regulations and Standards and filed with the Secretary of State, to become effective on...more

Superior Court Decision Raises the Bar For Municipalities Seeking to Challenge Special Permits And Other Zoning Actions Taken By...

by Beveridge & Diamond PC on

The Massachusetts Superior Court has ruled that a municipality lacks standing to challenge a special permit issued by a neighboring town when the alleged harm is “too speculative and remote to qualify them as ‘aggrieved...more

Zoning-Immune Government Building Retains Its Protected Status Upon Transfer to Private Party

by Beveridge & Diamond PC on

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently clarified whether formerly zoning-immune government buildings continue to considered lawfully noncompliant with local zoning when that immunity is terminated. In Gund v. Planning Bd....more

Union of B.C. Municipalities Push for Campaign Finance and Lobbying Reform

by Bennett Jones LLP on

The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) held their annual convention between September 25 and September 28, 2017, discussing several policies and reforms, including election and lobbying reform at the municipal...more

Court Supports Expansive View of What Constitutes Religious Use

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

Courts have recently expanded what constitutes religious conduct. In particular, in Matter of Sullivan v. Board of Zoning Appeals of City of Albany, 144 A.D. 3d 1480 (3d Dep’t 2016), an appellate court ruled that the use of a...more

Fall 2017 Municipal Revaluations in Connecticut

by Pullman & Comley, LLC on

Approximately 20 percent of Connecticut municipalities plan to conduct revaluations effective October 1, 2017. For those with commercial real property located in a revaluing community, you should know that a representative...more

Eighth Circuit Holds That A Motion To Dismiss Based On An Arbitration Clause Is Not A Challenge To The Court’s Jurisdiction

by Carlton Fields on

A municipality sued the company that constructed its water treatment facility, in connection with contaminants found in the water supply. The parties had entered into a series of agreements which contained choice of law and...more

City of Birmingham Passes Nondiscrimination Ordinance, Creates Human Rights Commission

On September 26, 2017, the Birmingham City Council passed an ordinance that makes it a crime for any entity doing business in the city to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender...more

SEC Continues Public Finance Enforcement Agenda Two Recent Cases Filed

Just in the last weeks of August, the Public Finance Abuse Unit of the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced settlements of securities fraud actions involving a city, an underwriter, a...more

City of Newton’s Drone Ordinance Overturned by Federal Judge

Last week, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that the City of Newton’s drone ordinance, which attempted to regulate drone flights in the airspace over Newton, Massachusetts could not be enforced by the municipality...more

For Any Lawful Reason: Firing an at-will employee under dubious circumstances need not lead to liability if the reason for the...

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

A recent decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals highlights the distinction between firing an employee for personal or politically expedient reasons (which may be entirely legal) and firing an employee because of his...more

Volkswagen Settlement Provides Funding Opportunities For Electric Utilities

by McCarter & English, LLP on

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked the federal district court in the Volkswagen “clean diesel” emissions litigation to approve a long-awaited environmental mitigation trust agreement. The approval of the trust agreement...more

District Court Invalidates Wheat Ridge Anti-TIF Initiative

On September 8, 2017, a Jefferson County District Court ("Court") essentially struck down Ballot Question 300 (“BQ300”), approved by the Wheat Ridge ("the City") voters on November 3, 2015. The ballot question was an...more

Municipalities' Water Withdrawal: NEPA/National Forest Management Act Challenge to U.S. Forest Service Authorization

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (“Court”) addressed in an October 23rd opinion Plaintiffs-Appellants Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch of Oregon (collectively “Plaintiffs”) challenge to the United...more

MSRB Warns Municipalities, Underwriters and Municipal Advisors about Selective Disclosure

Regulation FD prohibits public companies from disclosing material nonpublic information to designated classes of persons such as securities professionals and holders of the issuer’s securities without, in most cases,...more

California Supreme Court Clarifies that Voter Initiatives Are Not Subject to Certain of Proposition 218’s Limitations on Local...

Since Proposition 218 was passed in 1996, which added Article XIIIC to the California Constitution (“Article XIIIC”), local governments have faced heightened restrictions in their abilities to impose taxes. Specifically,...more

Payments Clause in City Contract Deemed Unconstitutional When it Suspends the City’s Ability to Tax

by Low, Ball & Lynch on

Russell City Energy Co. LLC v. City of Hayward - Court of Appeal, First District (August 7, 2017) - In Russell City Energy Co. LLC v. City of Hayward, the California Court of Appeals held that a payments clause in a...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: December 2016 and March, April, June, and August 2017

by Sands Anderson PC on

Happy Fall! The Virginia Supreme Court issued a number of opinions since my last update affecting local government law. Its work resulted in opinions addressing...more

Ruling Sheds Light on Meaning of “Public Employee” under Maine’s Municipal Labor Law

by PretiFlaherty on

Maine’s Superior Court recently affirmed a decision from the Maine Labor Relations Board (MLRB) finding that two municipal supervisory employees were “public employees” with the right to collectively bargain under Maine’s...more

Coal Ash/Preemption: Federal Appellate Court Addresses Challenge to Municipal Regulation

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (“Court”) addressed whether two Pureto Rican municipalities could prohibit the beneficial use and disposal of coal ash (also known as Coal Combustion Residuals [“CCR”]...more

New York’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs (“LWRPs”) And Climate Change

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

Now more than ever, climate resiliency along our coastlines is an important aspect of long range municipal planning. Back in 1981, the New York State Legislature enacted the Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and...more

California Supreme Court Strengthens Development Permit Protections

by Best Best & Krieger LLP on

Municipalities will have greater protection against land-use litigation after the California Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling last month that property owners who proceed with permitted development projects will forfeit the...more

Seattle Waterfront’s Local Improvement District: An Introduction

The Seattle Waterfront Project is a step closer in its plans for redevelopment, or at least a step closer in estimating a piece of its funding. Earlier this month, the City of Seattle received a feasibility study revealing...more

What’s Next for the Winthrop Square Development Project?

On July 28, 2017 Governor Baker approved a home rule petition proposed by Mayor Walsh which changed a Massachusetts law so that a skyscraper could be built over the Winthrop Square garage in Boston, Massachusetts. Obtaining...more

Municipalities Can Be Held Liable for the Actions (and Words) of Their Officials

Much like a business corporation, a municipality can only act through its employees. A municipal official may inadvertently (or advertently) make representations regarding municipality business, leading to unintended...more

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