Municipal Law News

SAVE THE DATE! – June 8, 2022, 12:30 PM – Annual Business Meeting and CLE Program

REGISTER NOW – MMLA Webinar –- Wetlands Act 21 Day Deadlines and Annual Business Meeting

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at 12:30 p.m.
Zoom Webinar

Gregor I. McGregor, Esq. of McGregor Legere & Stevens PC, will review the Oyster Creek and recent Boston Clear Water cases on compliance with the 21-day deadlines in the Wetlands Protection Act. Home Rule bylaw and ordinance jurisdiction over projects in and near wetland resource areas depends on Conservation Commission compliance with 21-day deadlines for commencing public hearings and issuing decisions on Notices of Intent (NOIs). These provisions in the state Wetlands Protection Act are binding on Commissions and failure to meet them is potentially fatal to any decision the Commission may render. This program will address how municipal counsels and their Conservation Commissions can cope with those strict deadlines.

MMLA will hold its Annual Business Meeting immediately following the educational program portion of the webinar. During the meeting, MMLA members will vote on the Nominating Committee’s recommended slate of officers and directors for the July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 term. Members will also vote on proposed revisions to MMLA Bylaws and conduct any other necessary business. See the links below for the Nominating Committee slate and documents about the proposed Bylaw revisions:

  1. Nominating Committee’s slate
  2. Clean copy of proposed revised Bylaws
  3. Comparison of current and proposed revised Bylaws
  4. Summary memo of proposed revisions to Bylaws

Both MMLA members and non-members may attend the educational program portion of the webinar. Please share this information and invite colleagues who may be interested in this topic, including your local conservation commission and team.

There is no charge to attend, but advance registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. To register, please go to the following link: 

Note that you can register to attend the webinar at any time, including after the 12:30 p.m. start time.

MMLA Free Webinar – “Municipal Land Acquisitions & Dispositions101”

The New Lawyers Committee of MMLA will be hosting a webinar panel on municipal land acquisitions and dispositions. This program is geared towards lawyers new to the practice of municipal law; but all are welcome to attend! Come learn from Mina Makarious (Anderson & Kreiger), Jennie Merrill (Miyares & Harrington), and Emily Izzo (DOR’s Bureau of Municipal Finance Law). Topics will include Chapter 30B, eminent domain, land restrictions, Article 97, town meeting requirements, purchase and sale agreements, and financing issues.

The program is free and open to non-MMLA members who want to learn the nuts and bolts of municipal land transactions. Please share this event invite.

What: Municipal Land Acquisitions and Dispositions 101
When: May 26, 2022
Time: 12pm – 2pm
Where: Zoom
Questions: Email Ivria Fried (Miyares and Harrington) at

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

REGISTER NOW – MMLA Bylaw Revisions – Special Meeting on May 18th

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

12:00 p.m.

Zoom Webinar


This meeting is the required “reading” of proposed revisions to the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association (MMLA) bylaws. In April 2022, the Executive Board unanimously voted to approve changes to the bylaws that resulted from a comprehensive two-year review process by the MMLA Bylaws Committee. The proposed revisions must first be “read” to the membership at an MMLA meeting before a vote at a second MMLA meeting. In a May 4, 2022 email sent by the listserv, MMLA members received documents showing and explaining the proposed revisions. Members of the MMLA Bylaws Committee will be available at this meeting to address member questions, concerns, or feedback about the proposed revisions.

To attend, you must register through the link below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to join the webinar. 

Note that you can register to attend the program at any time, including after the noon start time. Also note a raffle drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card will be held, with the winner to be randomly drawn from those MMLA members who attend (current members of the Executive Board are not eligible).

AG disapproves Brookline’s “On-site Fossil Fuel Infrastructure” bylaw amendments

On February 25, 2022, the Attorney General disapproved two by-law amendments aimed at regulating on-site fossil fuel infrastructure as inconsistent with the preemptive effect of the state building code.  In that letter, Assistant Attorney General Margaret Hurley wrote:

Our review of Articles 25 and 26 from the 2021 Brookline Annual Town Meeting presents
the issue whether a town zoning by-law may regulate buildings based upon whether the building
materials include “On-Site Fossil Fuel Infrastructure” (as defined in the by-law). The statutory
language in the Zoning Act (G.L. c. 40A, § 3, and the broad preemptive scope of both the State
Building Code (“Building Code”) (780 CMR 100.00) and Chapter 164, all dictate the conclusion that
a town zoning by-law cannot regulate building materials or methods of construction. Because the
Brookline proposed by-law amendments conflict with the plain language of the Zoning Act, are
preempted by the Building Code and G.L. c. 164, and present additional state law conflicts as detailed
herein, we must disapprove Articles 25 and 26.

Click here for the full text of the AG’s decision letter.

Register Now – MMLA Webinar – MBTA Community Zoning

Wednesday, February 16, 2022
12:00 p.m.
Zoom Webinar

This program will discuss the draft guidelines issued by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for compliance with requirements under the new section 3A of G.L. c. 40A that MBTA communities allow multi-family housing by right in at least one zoning district.

Panelist for this program will be:

  • Donna M. Brewer, Esq., Miyares and Harrington, LLP
  • Susan Murphy, Esq., Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C
  • Barbara Saint Andre, Esq., Director, Medway Community and Economic Development

Registration for this program is open to both MMLA members and non-members. Please share this information and invite colleagues who may be interested in this topic, including your local government planning team.

Click here for further information and registration link.

Registration Open for MMLA Webinar – Farm, Beer Garden, and Other Alcohol License Issues

This Zoom Webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, January 12th, at 2:00 PM. During this lunch time program, Ralph Sacramone, Executive Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, will address issues related to pop-up beer gardens, and farmer brewers manufacturing and pouring licenses. Other topics to be discussed include alcohol delivery, April 1 status and emergency temporary outdoor seating vs permanent outdoor seating.  For details, visit our Upcoming Events Calendar.

MMLA Webinar – Drafting and Enacting Legislation

MMLA Webinar – Drafting and Enacting Legislation
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Zoom Webinar

This lunch time program will provide lawyers new to municipal law and experienced municipal
counsels with an overview of state and local legislative processes. It will explain the state
legislative process, discuss approaches for developing, promoting, monitoring and passing bills,
and provide practical tips for drafting effective state and local legislation, including home rule
petitions, Article 97 land dispositions, bylaws, and ordinances.

Click here for details and registration information.


DOWNLOAD the decision of the SJC

Keywords:  Marijuana. License. Municipal Corporations, By-laws and ordinances, Contracts, Marijuana. Contract, Municipality. Mandamus. Practice, Civil, Action in nature of mandamus, Action in nature of certiorari, Motion to dismiss, Judgment on the pleadings. Regulation.

In a must-read decision issued today, Merderi Inc. v. City of Salem, et al, the SJC upheld the City’s denial of a Host Community Agreement (HCA) to an applicant.  The SJC held in part that “[a]lthough we observe that the interplay between the statute and the regulations may have led to consequences perhaps not contemplated by the Legislature or the commission, we nevertheless conclude that Mederi’s claims properly were denied, and thus affirm the decision.”  The SJC also reviewed the legislative history of marijuana law in Massachusetts.

The Court rejected Mederi’s request for mandamus, noting that “Nothing in G. L. c. 94G, § 3, imposes a duty on a city or town to enter into an HCA with a prospective recreational marijuana establishment simply because that establishment is able to fulfill the municipality’s HCA requirements.  Indeed, G. L. c. 94G, § 3 (d), the provision governing HCAs, merely provides that a prospective marijuana establishment must enter into an HCA with a host community before it can operate.  That provision contemplates a negotiation between the host community and the applicant, stating that the HCA must include “all stipulations of responsibilities between the host community and the marijuana establishment.”  Id.

The Court also dismissed  Mederi’s claim for a cert appeal.  ” Because the city had a rational basis for choosing these applicants, its decision not to enter into an HCA with Mederi was neither arbitrary nor capricious.  See Attorney Gen., 382 Mass. at 62.  Based on the high number of applicants on Highland Avenue, the city ultimately selected two applicants that planned to locate on that street –- Atlantic Medicinal and INSA –- that, in its view, had stronger proposals than Mederi.”

The challenge to the impact fees was also denied, with the Court finding that the applicant did not have standing since they never entered into a HCA.  Other challenges met a similar fat

Congratulations to MMLA member and Salem Assistant City Solicitor Victoria Caldwell for this very impressive and important win for municipalities!