NELF Senior Staff Attorney Ben Robbins is quoted extensively in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article, discussing his position for NELF in amicus brief filed in important solar energy case pending before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
In its March 4, 2022 online issue, the Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly provided extensive coverage of the views of NELF’s Senior Staff Attorney, Ben Robbins, in its article previewing the important solar energy case, Tracer Lane II Realty, LLC v. City of Waltham, pending before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: “SJC to weigh local zoning of solar energy facilities.” (For those readers who have a subscription to MLW, the link to the article is at:
The Massachusetts Zoning Act treats solar energy structures as a “protected use,” by barring local government from prohibiting or unreasonably regulating that land use, unless the government can show that the prohibition or unreasonable regulation is necessary to protect the public health, safety, or welfare. In the article, Robbins summarizes NELF’s central argument in its brief, i.e., that the city of Waltham violated the statute as soon as it summarily rejected Tracer Lane’s request to build, on its residential property, an access road that would be necessary to the construction and maintenance of a proposed solar panel array in the bordering town of Lexington. That is, the town did not even attempt to justify the outright prohibition as necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare. In the article, Robbins also explains his understanding of how the statute protects the interests of abutters to the proposed access road (first, by allowing the city to prohibit the proposed structure with a sufficient showing of public necessity; second, by allowing the city to impose reasonable regulations on the actual construction of the road; and third, by allowing the city to impose “unreasonable regulations,” again with a sufficient showing of public necessity).