Municipal Law News

Upcoming Programs – Stay Tuned!

Upcoming 2023 events for MMLA:

  1. Massachusetts Municipal Association Annual Conference, January 20-21, 2023 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston (MMLA members to present a Municipal Law Update) – Further details can be found on the MMA’s website at
  2. A two-part “Labor Basics” program in February (virtual program) and April (in-person) featuring an outstanding panel of MMLA labor practitioners.  Dates, registration information and further program details will be coming soon.
  3. MCLE Municipal Law 2023 Annual Conference – March 22, 2023 (registration information and further details coming soon on the MCLE website,

Please join us in 2023 for one or more of these exciting upcoming programs.  Happy Holidays!

MMLA Program Announcement! – “So, You Want to be a Municipal Lawyer!” – October 25, 2022

Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association is pleased to announce that the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School will be hosting our program to discuss possible careers in municipal law.  The program will be offered in a hybrid format both at the Center’s physical location at Barat House, 885 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02459 as well as virtually, on Tuesday October 25th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Our panel will be moderated by Jason Grossfield, City Solicitor for the City of Marlborough, and he will be joined by the following panelists:
    Rob Arcangeli, Assistant Corporation Counsel, City of Boston
    Antoine Fares, Associate, Norris, Murray & Peloquin, LLC
    Emily Izzo, Division of Local Services, Department of Revenue, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    Rachel Millette, Associate, Murphy Hesse Toomey & Lehane LLP
Please help us get the word out on this event to any of your students and recent graduates who may be interested in exploring this exciting field of legal practice.
MMLA would like to thank the Rappaport Center and Executive Director Elisabeth Medvedow for working with us to host this event.
Click here for additional information!

The MMLA Annual Conference is Back!

Join us IN PERSON for a day of learning, networking and camaraderie, at the Hogan Center on the Holy Cross campus, in Worcester.  Featured speakers include the lawyers who argued the Shurtleff case before SCOTUS, the Tracer Lane Solar case before the SJC, and experts on gun licensing and Cannabis.  Hear the latest advice and tips to update your own clients on these issues that may impact their decision making.

The conference runs from 9:00AM to 4:45PM on Friday October 14, 2022.  We have also planned some post-conference social time at a Worcester location for beers, appetizers, Municipal Potpourri, and just plain hanging out with your colleagues.

Cost $135 for current MMLA members; $150 for non-members.  Includes programs, electronic materials, breakfast, lunch, and appetizers.  Cash bar.


Thanks to the generous donations of our membership, grants are available to attorneys (whether they are members of MMLA or not) who are new to the practice of municipal law and want to see what MMLA and our programming is all about.  If you or a colleague wish to inquire about financial assistance to attend this program through MMLA’s grant program, please contact Jim Lampke at or 617-285-4561.


Click on the following for program details:   Program Agenda:


SAVE THE DATE! – October 14th – MMLA Annual Conference at Holy Cross!

Save the Date – The Annual Conference is back! MMLA will hold a one-day conference at the Hogan Conference Center at Holy Cross in Worcester on Friday, October 14, 2022, with a networking social event to follow. Further details and registration information will be announced soon. Watch the ListServ and MMLA website.

Legislative Update: Governor Baker Signs New Cannabis Legislation, S.3096

On August 11, the Governor signed cannabis legislation into law, in part, that would have significant impacts municipal host community agreements, among other things.  MMLA had raised concerns with several aspects of the legislation, S.3096, and expressed those concerns in a letter to the Governor on August 4th.  The Governor vetoed only one section of the bill relative to medical marijuana use in K-12 schools.

Governor Baker Letter to Legislature regarding S.3096

Signed Cannabis Last Parchment with Section 26 Veto

DHCD Issues Final Compliance Guidelines for Section 3A of Zoning Act

On August 10, 2022, DHCD and EOHED issued final Compliance Guidelines for Multi-Family Zoning Districts under Section 3A of the Zoning Act.  These guidelines are the end result of a process that began in December 2021 when draft guidelines were released and after subsequent outreach and collection of public comment earlier this year, including substantial input from MMLA members and an ad hoc committee our organization formed to help address the concerns of our organization and our clients.  The final Guidelines require the 175 MBTA communities to adopt multi-family zoning where multi-family is allowed “as of right” near a transit station if there is one.  Cities and towns with no transit stations are still required to adopt zoning, but have flexibility in the location.  In a letter to the 175 MBTA Communities, DHCD/EOHED summarized the following changes in the guidelines from draft to final:

  • Revised Community Categories: MBTA Communities are now categorized as rapid transit, commuter rail, adjacent, or adjacent small town. The “bus service” category has been eliminated.
  • Significant Adjustments for Small and Rural Towns with No Transit Stations: The final guidelines eliminate the minimum land area requirement and reduce the multi- family unit capacity requirement for communities with a population of less than 7,000 or less than 500 residents per square mile.
  • Changes to the Reasonable Size Criteria: The guidelines establish “circuit breakers” that prevent multi-family unit capacity from exceeding 25% of a community’s existing housing stock, or the minimum land from exceeding 1.5% of its total developable land area.
  • Tailored District Location Requirements: The portion of a multi-family zoning district that must be located within a half mile of a transit station now varies based on the amount of developable station area within each MBTA community. Communities with more developable station area land will be required to have more of their multi-family districts within a half mile of transit stations. A community with less than 100 developable acres within a half mile of a station will be free to choose any appropriate location.
  • Multi-family Unit Capacity Tool: To help communities calculate multi-family unit capacity in a consistent, transparent, and data-driven way, DHCD/EOHED built a compliance model workbook tool. The compliance model will provide a GIS land map for each municipality and calculate a zoning district’s multi-family unit capacity and gross density based on inputs provided by each community. This tool will be widely available for use in the fall.

DHCD will be presenting an explanatory webinar on September 8, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.  You can find the guidelines and related materials, including a registration link for the webinar, here on DHCD’s website.

Legislative Update: MMLA Outlines Concerns About Cannabis Committee Report Enacted & Laid Before Governor

Report of the committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two branches, with reference to the House amendments to the Senate Bill relative to equity in the cannabis industry (Senate, No. 2823) (amended by the House by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in place thereof the text of House document numbered 4800),– reports, a “Bill relative to equity in the cannabis industry.” (Senate, No. 3096).  Click here for the text of S3096.  This bill was enacted and laid before the Governor on August 1st.

MMLA has concerns about the impacts of certain provisions of the committee report, including as outlined in a letter sent on August 4th to the Governor’s office.

MMLA’s Annual Half-day Luncheon and Seminar: Municipal Shared Services 

MMLA’s Annual Half-day Luncheon and Seminar: Municipal Shared Services
Thursday, August 11, 2022, 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Publick House, 277 Main Street (Route 131), Sturbridge

The August Half-day Luncheon and Seminar is back this year. This annual event is returning to the Publick House in Sturbridge on Thursday, August 11, 2022, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Chaired once again by Mark G. Cerel, Franklin and Medway Town Counsel, this year’s program will focus on municipal shared services, such as intermunicipal agreements (IMAs), regionalization, and mutual aid. Additional program details, including the schedule, topics, and speakers, can be found on the MMLA website.

Registration is open to both MMLA members and non-members. The program charge for a MMLA member or local official whose legal counsel is a MMLA member is:

  • $90 for the Luncheon Buffet and Program, including Electronic Materials
  • $75 for only the Program, including Electronic Materials

 There is a $10.00 surcharge for MMLA members not current on their dues or other non-members.

Thanks to the generous donations of our membership, grants are available to attorneys (whether they are members of MMLA or not) who are new to the practice of municipal law and want to see what MMLA and our programming is all about. If you or a colleague wish to inquire about financial assistance to attend this program through MMLA’s grant program, please contact Jim Lampke at or 617-285-4561 


Please share this information and invite colleagues who may be interested in this topic, including your town managers/administrators and others.

To register in advance for this in-person program, please go to this link: