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 Maine Office of Marijuana Policy has adopted final rules regarding the cultivation, manufacture, sale and use of adult use marijuana in Maine. These rules will take effect on December 6, 2019. Municipalities that have been holding off on passing marijuana-related ordinances while awaiting the adult use rules may find this a good time to restart the process. However, the law remains that... More
  • In an opinion issued on September 27, 2019, the New Hampshire Supreme Court addressed the regulation of short-term residential rentals. The Court’s decision provides guidance for municipalities in regard to the allowance of short-term residential rentals, such as through websites like Airbnb, Home Away, and VRBO.  In Working Stiff Partners, LLC v. City of Portsmouth, single-family, two-family,... More
  • Condominium and other multi-unit projects located within a single structure often pose challenges to municipal planning staff and developers alike, particularly as to whether a certain project should be reviewed under the municipal subdivision ordinance, municipal site plan ordinance, or both. Prior Legislative committee amendments to 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4401 and § 4402 were intended to broaden... More
  • The 129th Legislature passed several laws to promote renewable energy in Maine. One of these was LD 1430, enacted as PL 440, which exempts wind and solar energy property from assessment. The exemption applies to both real and personal property, whether used residentially or commercially. It does not apply to “grid-scale” projects that sell energy to the grid for profit. It will apply starting... More
  • While intended to make real estate transfers more opaque, 33 MRSA section 193 likely will result in more demands upon municipal public work’s directors, CEOs, assessors, and planners. On August 1, 2018, 33 MRSA § 193 went into effect, requiring sellers of nonresidential property to disclose “information identifying any abandoned or discontinued town ways, any public easements and any private... More
  • A new law passed by the Maine Legislature goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Under the Maine Tort Claims Act, Title 14. § 8101, et seq., within 365 days after any tort claims or cause of action arising under the Maine Tort Claims Act, a claimant must send a written notice to the municipality. Formerly, notice had to be filed within 180 days. The notice must contain the name and address of the... More
  • In preparation for Maine’s celebration of the 2020 Bicentennial (I am sure everyone remembers that we became a State in 1820 because of the Missouri Compromise), the State is offering grants to state and local governments, including municipalities, nonprofit organizations, schools and other organizations in partnership with the above. The Maine Bicentennial Commission will be distributing $... More
  • In a recent case, Dietz et al. v. Town of Tuftonboro (decided January 28, 2019), the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that a Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) did not have to make written findings to support the granting of an equitable waiver pursuant to RSA 674:33-a. In that case, the owner of a house on Lake Winnipesaukee sought an equitable waiver because two additions that it had built (and... More
  • Maine’s Law Court recently issued a brief decision reminding Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) practitioners that FOAA complaints are subject to dismissal, like any other complaint, where they fail to allege facts that would entitle a plaintiff to relief under the statute.  The facts in the case, Dubois v. Town of Arundel, involved a denial by the Town of Arundel’s Planning Board of an application... More
  • When was the last time you checked your animal-related ordinances to confirm that they were keeping up with, and meeting the needs of, your ever-changing community? These ordinances are easy to overlook until you need them and then, unfortunately, the tools you need may not be there. Maine law provides broad authority to enact and enforce animal-related ordinances.  We see in our state,... More
  • Last session, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1539, which provided that registered medical marijuana caregivers could serve an unlimited number of patients. The law also requires municipalities to “opt in” if they wish to allow medical marijuana caregivers to open retail storefronts. We are all thankful for the clear language as to medical marijuana retail stores, but one aspect of the law that... More
  • The Law Court entered a decision on April 11, 2019, which took the rare step of granting summary judgment in favor of the Town of Denmark in a case that an employee brought against the Town. The underlying facts were that the employee worked from 2003 to 2014 under a written employment contract with the Town to serve as a part-time Code Enforcement Officer (CEO). The contract stated that he was... More
  • If a code enforcement officer (CEO) issues a written decision finding “no violation” of a land use ordinance, is that decision appealable? Recently, Maine’s Law Court tackled this very question and answered “yes”—but only so long as the ordinance does not say otherwise. In Raposa v. Town of York, an abutter became concerned about how a neighbor was using property. The abutter contacted the... More
  • Even in towns where all legislative authority rests with town meeting, the Selectmen or Town Council have authority to pass certain kinds of ordinances. Following is a list of those topics:  Traffic Control Ordinances – Title 30-A M.R.S. § 3009 allows the municipal officers to enact ordinances governing:  Pedestrian traffic, including the use and maintenance of sidewalks and crosswalks. (Yes... More
  • After a municipality goes through the statutory foreclosure process because of delinquent taxes on a piece of real estate, it normally takes the property free and clear of any pre-existing liens, mortgages, executions of judgment, or other clouds on the title to real estate. The exception to this is when the property has an IRS lien against it for unpaid income taxes by the property owner. There... More