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

  • An Introduction to Green Bonds For starters, “green bonds” are not issued pursuant to any governmental program like, for example, the federal program for Qualified School Construction Bonds. Rather, the issuer of a bond requests a non-governmental organization to evaluate (there is a fee involved) the project being financed to determine if those bonds are eligible for a green bond designation.  Green bonds are attracting... More
  • Enforcement of Tax Liens This year, one subject that raised a lot of questions related to title to real estate acquired by the foreclosure process for failure to pay real estate taxes and the sales of those properties. Although the process is laid out very clearly in the statute, Title 36, particularly §§ 942 and 943, it has proven challenging for tax assessors to always get things right. The Law Court has been very... More
  • Adult Use Marijuana Rules Passed 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
  • NH Supreme Court Weighs in on Short-Term Rentals 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
  • Definition of Subdivision 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
  • Municipalities Await Guidance as to How to Apply New Tax Exemptions for Wind and Solar 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
  • A New Twist in the Road for Road Disclosures 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
  • Notice Under Maine Tort Claims Act Increases to One Year 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
  • Maine Bicentennial Grants Available to Municipalities 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
  • To What Extent Does a Zoning Board of Adjustment or Planning Board Have to Make Specific Findings of Fact to Support Its Decision? 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
  • Law Court Finds FOAA Complaint Properly Dismissed 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
  • Animal-Related Ordinances – Out of Sight and Out of Mind? 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
  • Marijuana Caregivers – A Regulatory Challenge in Residential Areas 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
  • Town Prevails on Whistleblower Protection Act Case 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
  • Are Notices of “No Violation” Appealable in Maine? 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

Firm Highlights


Maine WC Appellate Division Addresses Refusal of Suitable Work and Notice

The Maine Workers' Compensation Appellate Division recently addressed cases dealing with refusal of suitable work and notice. Both decisions rely heavily on the specific facts of each case. In the context of a refusal...


Maine WC Alert: Updated Version of Notice of Controversy (WCB-9) Must Be Used Effective February 1, 2020

Following the recent statutory changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board has updated the language in Box 22 of the Notice of Controversy. This new version should be used as...


Preti Flaherty Welcomes Government Relations Liaison Andrew I. Roth-Wells to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that Andrew I. Roth-Wells has joined the firm as a Government Relations Liaison. Andrew will help manage legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts for the firm’s Government Affairs Team...

Press Coverage

Bangor superintendent blocked BDN reporter on Twitter after critical news coverage

In an apparent violation of the First Amendment, Bangor schools superintendent Betsy Webb temporarily blocked a journalist on Twitter following a report that news of a student suicide was announced over the loudspeaker at...


Maine WC Alert: MAE Unit Publishes Guidance on Compliance with Recent Amendments

The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board’s Monitoring, Audit & Enforcement Unit has issued a document to provide guidance on complying with certain recent amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act in P.L. 2019, c. 344 (LD...


Tony Manhart and Jason Howe Present Top Ten Construction Contract Tips for ABC of Maine

As part of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Maine Contractor Series, Preti Flaherty attorneys Tony Manhart and Jason Howe will present the Top Ten tips for AIA contracts. ABC is a national association with 72...


David B. Van Slyke Named Preti Flaherty Managing Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that, in a unanimous vote, the firm’s partnership has elected attorney David B. Van Slyke as its incoming Managing Partner. David is one of the preeminent environmental lawyers...


Ken Rubinstein to Present at Boston Bar Association Brown Bag Lunch

2019 AIA A133 CM at Risk with a Guaranteed Maximum Price – Updates You Should Be Aware Of Ken Rubinstein will present an update on the provisions and implications of the new AIA form...


Preti Flaherty Attorney Benjamin S. Piper Promoted to Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named attorney Benjamin S. Piper as a partner. Ben is a member of the firm's Environmental, Litigation, and Media Law Practice Groups and works...


Bankruptcy Alert: Significant Implications of the New Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019

Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) On August 23, 2019, President Trump signed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) (the “SBRA”) into law.  Lenders should be aware of the...