Municipal Law and Finance

Municipal Law and Finance

Representative Matters

Preti Flaherty's Municipal Law attorneys have represented cities and towns across New England on general and complex municipal legal issues. The following highlights the Group's work in Maine and New Hampshire.

Municipal Law in New Hampshire:

  • Successfully defended numerous planning, zoning and tax abatement appeals on behalf of several New Hampshire municipalities.
  • Successfully defended municipal zoning ordinance against challenge by developers seeking to invalidate a Growth Management Regulation.
  • Successfully defended the municipality in action by former employee under "whistleblower" statute.  After an 8-day hearing, the Labor Department ruled that employee had been terminated for legitimate reasons and the Supreme Court denied the employee's appeal.
  • Worked with City Attorney and City Council to effect taking of property by eminent domain and defeat threatened challenges to City's authority to take property for controversial highway project.
  • Defended a coastal municipality in a Superfund site cleanup, resulting in a comprehensive settlement.
  • Provided counsel to the Town of Litchfield regarding widespread groundwater contamination impacting over 350 residences.

Municipal Law in Maine:

  • Hired as counsel in February of 2011 when the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Chelsea was charged with bribery and extortion of a contractor. We handled challenging legal issues, including repopulating a Board of Selectmen that had only one remaining functioning member. We also redrafted numerous ordinances and procedures for a special town meeting. We also represented Chelsea's interests during the FBI investigation related to the charges.
  • Successfully defended numerous lawsuits involving cities and towns, including challenging development projects, a claim before the U.S. District Court under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 involving the placement of a wireless tower in the Town of Manchester. We also represented the City of Augusta in a hard-fought First Amendment case, and won a precedent setting federal appellate ruling upholding that City's parade ordinance. We defended the City's right to reasonably regulate parades and mass outdoor gatherings.
  • Won several unanimous Law Court rulings on behalf of the City of Augusta, during a four-year legal battle over the sale of the former Cony High School.  The Law Court's decisions allowed the City to modify the terms of charitable trust and sell a part of the former high school for the construction of a new Hannaford.  We closed the deal with the developer, netting our client $1.5 million.
  • As the town attorney to Jay, Maine, we represented the town when a bankrupt power plant sued Jay, claiming it had overvalued the plant's property for two years. Based on our arguments, tax assessors voted to reduce the property valuation by only $28 million instead of the $100 million the plant sought, preventing a 20% property tax increase ($3.3 million) that would have crippled local homeowners. 
  • Assisted the Town of Searsport Planning Board in its yearlong, complex review of a proposed and highly controversial 22 million gallon liquid propane storage facility.
  • Provided legal, technical and public relations assistance when two separate groups of towns moved to withdraw from their respective regional school units and to reorganize into new school units.
  • Successfully defended against a lawsuit seeking to recover $1.9 million in school assessments that were alleged to have been undercharged to certain municipal members of a regional school unit.
  • Represented the Town of Bayville, Maine which was chartered by the Maine legislature as a Village Corporation within Boothbay Harbor. As a self-sustaining vacation community, Bayville paid its own municipal expenses and contributed revenue to Boothbay Harbor pursuant to a 1911 Charter. But when Boothbay tried to increase Bayville's revenue contribution from 40% to 100%, we assisted Bayville in taking a fighting stand. We convinced the legislature that Bayville should receive more of its own revenues, which paved the way for a novel contractual solution that will prevent future efforts to amend the Charter.
  • Preti Flaherty's Land Use and Permitting attorneys assisted Calais LNG in obtaining all of the necessary local land permits to construct a $900 million dollar state-of-the-art liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and storage facility in Calais, Maine. We worked with the client, the city, the Department of Environmental Protection and State Planning Office to create a new Maritime Industrial Zone encompassing 2800 feet of shoreline that suited the needs of the facility and the surrounding community.
  • Successfully defended the interests of the City of Saco in a USEPA Superfund action related to the investigation and remediation of its municipal landfill and pursuit of contribution from industrial waste generators regarding site cleanup.
  • Obtained several municipal site cleanups through the Maine DEP's Voluntary Response Action Program.
  • Represented the Town of Brunswick regarding Maine DEP  demands concerning alleged regulatory violations and closure requirements related to municipal landfill.