New England Legal Foundation (NELF) “Amicus” Brief Defends Anti-NIMBY Provision of Affordable Housing Law

BOSTON – The New England Legal Foundation (NELF – has filed an amicus curiae friend-of-the-court brief before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) to support the development of affordable housing in Massachusetts by bolstering the anti-NIMBY provisions of the comprehensive permit statute. The acronym NIMBY stands for “Not In My Backyard.”

According to NELF’s brief, the principal issues before the SJC – in the case of MARENGI v. 6 FOREST ROAD LLC – are whether requirement for opponents of affordable housing to post a bond to pursue judicial challenges also applies to “comprehensive permits” which are not specifically listed in the bond statute.  As NELF notes in its brief, comprehensive permits include site plans and other permits and so include the specific permits described in the statute.

“The comprehensive nature of these permits must be taken seriously, for they all legally require the site approval listed in the statute,” said NELF Staff Attorney John Pagliaro, who authored the brief.

“The Legislature recognized the importance of encouraging more affordable housing when it enacted the bond requirement to block NIMBY litigation,” said NELF President Dan Winslow. “The New England Legal Foundation strongly favors development rights for more housing to result in lower costs,” he added.

Citing case precedents, the NELF brief argues, “Here … site plan approval was given as part of the applicant’s qualifying for the comprehensive permit,” and “the Court, in its discretion, may require a plaintiff in an action … appealing a decision … to post a surety or cash bond in an amount of not more than $50,000 to secure the payment of costs if the court finds that the harm to the defendant or to the public interest resulting from delays caused by the appeal outweighs the financial burden of the surety or cash bond on the plaintiffs.”

The SJC decision is expected in the coming months.


About the New England Legal Foundation

The New England Legal Foundation (NELF – is the leading non-profit public interest law firm in the region dedicated to addressing policy and constitutional concerns related to economic freedom. NELF’s ongoing mission is to champion free enterprise, property rights, limited government based on rule of law, and inclusive economic growth. NELF challenges actions by governments and special interests 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 foundational value of a democratic society and the best opportunity for people to lift themselves to prosperity.


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