This blog provides news, discusses relevant legal issues, and highlights emerging trends in New England municipal law from Preti Flaherty's attorneys who represent cities and towns throughout the region.

Recent Blog Posts

  • On February 27, 2019, two new required municipal securities disclosure events will come into effect pursuant to amendments to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 15c2-12. The amendments apply to municipal securities issued on or after February 27, 2019. Currently, there are 14 different events for which notices must be filed pursuant to Rule 15c2-12, which include events such as rating... More
  • Local appeals boards are usually in the habit of considering the particularized injury prong of the standing test, but often brush over the participation prong. The Lincoln County Superior Court recently issued a decision in Our Town, et. al. v. Town of Damariscotta, et. al. (Lin. Cty. Super. Ct. Dkt. WISSC-AP-2018-3), which serves as a good reminder to local boards of appeals that they have... More
  • Municipalities own real estate that they convey to third parties in a variety of situations. Most often this occurs in the context of conveying property the town acquired because of unpaid property taxes back to the taxpayer once the past due amounts have been paid in full, but also in the context of municipal-owned property in industrial parks and other property suitable for development. Almost... More
  • “The phrase ‘domestic cats’ is an oxymoron.” —George Will Municipalities must deal with a wide variety of issues involving animals, from dangerous dogs to animals on highways, alive and dead. Funds for the Animal Control Officer (ACO) are limited due to budget constraints and the ACO may not be experienced in dealing with certain issues, such as the problems involving feral or so-called... More
  • In Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Town of Hanover, _____ N.H. _____ (2018), decided November 6, 2018, the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court, which had upheld the Hanover Planning Board’s decision denying Dartmouth College’s proposed construction of a new Indoor Practice Facility (“IPF”). Dartmouth sought approval for a 69,860 square foot IPF within the... More
  • Governor Janet T. Mills is being inaugurated today as Maine’s first female Governor. Municipal officials and leaders throughout the state should expect a more positive relationship between the Governor and the State of Maine and local municipal government during this new administration. As everyone is well aware, despite having been the former Mayor of Waterville, Governor Paul LePage had a very... More
  • According to a recent decision from Maine’s Superior Court, the answer depends on whether a municipality is seeking injunctive relief, such as an abatement of a zoning violation, or whether the municipality is seeking only monetary penalties. Where a town is seeking primarily injunctive or equitable relief, there is no right to a jury trial. In Town of Lebanon v. McDonough (York County, Aug.... More
  • December 13 was the effective date for bills passed by the 128th Legislature, including LD 1539, An Act to Amend Maine’s Medical Marijuana Law. Prior to this amendment, medical marijuana stores had gotten around the five-patient limit by eliminating one patient from their roster when the next one walked through the door. The law now formally allows medical marijuana caregivers to serve an... More
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that it is a violation of the First Amendment to require public sector employees to pay union dues if they do not wish to even when they benefit from collective bargaining. Maine is one of 20 states which require all public employees who are eligible to join a union to pay dues even if they object. That law will now be voided. Many employees will now choose not... More
  • The Maine Legislature today voted to override Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1719, “An Act to Implement a Regulatory Structure for Adult Use Marijuana.” This is good news for municipalities eager for some certainty on what they’ll be dealing with when retail (“adult use”) marijuana establishments come to town.  The Act makes significant changes to the existing Marijuana Legalization Act. It... More
  • With the passage of Senate Bill 412 in the 2018 Session, the New Hampshire Legislature made two significant changes relating to agritourism.  The first significant change was an amendment to RSA 674:32-b, II, which added the following language:  No municipality shall adopt an ordinance, bylaw, definition, or policy regarding agritourism activities that conflicts with the definition of... More
  • One thing we always look for when reviewing a land use ordinance is whether it inadvertently allows for appeal of enforcement orders issued by the code enforcement officer (CEO). We prefer not to have such orders be appealable, because a notice of violation is only a preliminary determination and will always be reviewed by a court before any penalties are assessed. Further, notices of violation... More
  • Many municipalities are the recipients of generous monetary gifts to be held in trust for various public purposes. Such gifts can range in size from a few hundred dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars or more, and may be accompanied by very specific instructions for how they are to be spent or by no instructions at all. While important to serving their various public purposes, these funds can... More
  • Maine’s Superior Court recently issued a decision that provides clarification on the grandfathered status of non-conforming structures and, more specifically, the circumstances under which that status may be lost.  At issue in Plourde v. Town of Casco was the non-conforming status of a dock. In 2005, the town had issued a building permit for a dock to a family that owned property in a... More
  • 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