Supreme Judicial Court “Amicus” Brief Supports Northborough Child Care Center Developers in Dispute vs. Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals
BOSTON – The New England Legal Foundation (NELF – www.newenglandlegal.org) has filed an amicus curiae friend-of-the-court brief before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) supporting developers of a proposed Northborough child care center in their case against the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The brief argues that the state’s Zoning Act defines “a child care facility [as] a protected use, and not an industrial use,” and that the child care facility shouldn’t be subject to “unreasonable” zoning regulations.
In the case under SJC consideration – Berlin Landing Realty Trust v. the Zoning Board of Appeals of Northborough – the property owner, Berlin Landing Realty Trust, wishes to build a child care facility on its plot of land located in the town’s industrial district, in an area that borders a residentially zoned district. The town has a zoning bylaw that requires a 100-foot setback for any industrial use that borders a residential district. The Land Court held that the town’s application of this setback requirement to the Trust’s proposed child care facility was an “unreasonable regulation” and “therefore violated the [Massachusetts Zoning] Act.” The NELF brief, written by NELF Senior Staff Attorney Ben Robbins, argues flatly that, “The Land Court was correct.”
NELF President Dan Winslow noted, “NELF stands for free enterprise, property rights, limited government based on rule of law, and inclusive growth. Each of these values is advanced by this case. Working parents need accessible child care to allow them to support their families, and developers of new child care facilities need protection against local government overreach. We are proud to stand for rule of law in support of more child care facilities in Massachusetts.”
Earlier in June, the SJC ruled in agreement with an NELF amicus brief – also written by Robbins – in a case involving the protected land use zoning of solar energy systems, the case of Tracer Lane II Realty, LLC v. City of Waltham & Another. Foundation President Dan Winslow applauded that decision as a win for “free enterprise, property rights and solar energy development.”
About the New England Legal Foundation
The New England Legal Foundation (NELF – www.newenglandlegal.org) is the leading non-profit public interest law firm in the region dedicated to addressing policy and constitutional concerns related to free enterprise. NELF’s ongoing mission is to champion individual economic liberties, property rights, good government based on rule of law, and inclusive economic growth. NELF challenges actions by governments and private litigants which would unreasonably intrude on the economic freedoms of individuals and business enterprises in New England and the nation. We believe that free enterprise is a linchpin of a democratic society and offers the most sustainable path to advance the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including freedom from material want.