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Northern New England Municipal Law Blog

Preti Flaherty's Municipal Law attorneys have extensive experience representing cities and towns across New England on general and complex matters. Northern New England Municipal Law Blog provides news, discusses relevant legal issues, and highlights emerging trends in New England municipal law.

Recent Blog Posts

  • The Municipal Law and Finance Group recently advised a client regarding the use of a relatively new statute – 30-A M.R.S. § 3106 – which provides municipalities with authority to take possession and dispose of mobile homes that have been abandoned. While the statute uses the term “abandoned,” it seems to also include mobile homes that are in a substantial state of disrepair. Code Enforcement... More
  • The Maine State Legislature today voted against legislation extending the moratorium that had held the citizens’ enacted recreational marijuana law from going into full effect since its enactment in November 2016 (it has been legal since early 2017 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, grow your own plants, and to give gifts of marijuana to other people). The immediate effect of the law... More
  • In follow-up to our post last week, a real world example of when it is necessary for a municipality to intervene in a landlord tenant situation arose in Brunswick. Because the wells were failing to keep up with demand of the 1,200 residents of the Bay Bridge Estates Mobile Home Park, its owners began rationing water by restricting supply during what they considered off-peak times during the... More
  • Municipal officials are often asked to intervene when landlords fail to keep up rental properties to the satisfaction of their tenants. But when can—and should—municipalities get involved in these often thorny situations? Generally speaking, towns should make it their practice to simply advise upset tenants that they should consult with legal counsel or a legal services agency to try to resolve... More
  • Title 30-A § 4452 allows code enforcement officers (CEOs) and other local officials who are specifically tasked with enforcing local ordinances the right to go on a potential violator’s property to determine if violations exist. The statute requires permission from the property owner if a local official wishes to inspect inside a building, but specifically states that such an entry onto property... More
  • The Maine Superior Court recently issued a decision reiterating that only municipalities have the authority to enforce land use regulations. The decision is a reminder that private persons are not entitled to sue for enforcement of a land use ordinance and that, if they do, any such action may be dismissed. At issue in Emanuel v. Town of Bristol was the use of a refrigerated trailer at a... More
  • In this installment of the Let's Talk Municipal Finance series, I will discuss two short-term alternatives to the issuance of long-term bonds for municipalities to access needed funds. These alternatives have a shorter maturity period and are either anticipated to be repaid by long-term bonds or other municipal revenue. Tax Anticipation Notes Tax anticipation notes, commonly referred to as TANs... More
  • One of those deadlines municipal officials tend to know off the top of their heads is that referendum elections must be ordered at least 45 days in advance. This has now changed! The Maine Legislature in its last session changed the filing deadline for nomination papers from 45 days to 60 days prior to the election. Because the deadline for calling a referendum election is, under 30-A M.R.S.A.... More
  • The Town of Brunswick recently prevailed in a case regarding the Town Council’s decision to sell a waterfront property that had been acquired through tax foreclosure. The plaintiffs, several citizens, had presented a petition to the Council which sought a referendum vote to enact an ordinance designating the property as a municipal park. However, the Council had already considered designating the... More
  • NHRSA 76:16, I(a) provides that “Selectmen or assessors, for good cause shown, may abate any tax, including prior years’ taxes, assessed by them or by their predecessors, including any portion of interest accrued on such tax. . . .” For many years, municipal attorneys and tax assessors in New Hampshire have proceeded in the belief that the only grounds for abatement of real estate taxes were... More
  • Updating our previous post on the fate of LD 1650, Governor LePage last week vetoed the bill and set the stage for action at the State House on Monday, where the Legislature was deciding whether to override the Governor’s veto. A two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate was required to overcome a veto. We now know the result: the veto has been sustained, with the House voting 74-62 to... More
  • LD 1650, An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act, was passed in both the House and the Senate on October 23, 2017. Governor LePage has until November 2, 2017, to sign the bill, veto the bill or allow it to become law without his signature. The 77-page bill comprehensively rewrites the legalization bill enacted by Citizens’ Referendum now one full year ago. Legalization of marijuana has... More
  • 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 Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations law (MPELR). The decision is noteworthy because it sheds light on two exceptions to the definition of “public employee” under the... More
  • In the last installment of Let's Talk Municipal Finance, I discussed municipalities and governmental entities that issue bonds, a form of municipal debt. An alternative to incurring municipal debt and less onerous option for a municipality that is, for example, looking to purchase a new piece of equipment, is a municipal lease purchase agreement.  Like ordinary lease purchase agreements,... More
  • Earlier this year, Maine’s Superior Court issued a decision in Blasco v. Town of Southport that provides a useful reminder for municipalities about appeals of code enforcement actions. The case involved an 80B appeal of a notice of violation that had been issued by the Town of Southport’s code enforcement officer. The plaintiff filed the appeal pursuant to a provision in Southport’s land use... More