Recent Developents In Land Use Law
The Massachusetts Zoning Act provides that “any person aggrieved” by a decision of a permit or special permit granting authority may appeal the decision by bringing an action in an appropriate court. Since 1992, judicial determination of whether an abutter (who is presumed to be “aggrieved”) may proceed to a full hearing on the merits as “a person aggrieved” been extensively litigated in Massachusetts trial and appellate courts. Appeals from the decisions of zoning and planning boards and other special permit granting authorities (e.g. city councils sitting as permit granting authorities) are taken the Superior Court in which the land concerned is situated and the Massachusetts Land Court under M.G.L. ch. 40A §17. This article reviews the current standards and recent case law related to the determination of whether an appellant is “aggrieved” (“has standing”) as that term has been construed.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are residences for seniors that provide several “levels of care” for residents in a single campus or project. This may include each or all of the following:
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Nursing Home
- Hospice Care
The predecessors of today’s CCRCs were church affiliated groups that provided lifetime care of aging adults with no close family in exchange for a pledge of some or all of the senior’s assets. For example, in 1914 members of Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers) founded ‘the Estaugh’ as a not-for-profit boarding home in Haddonfield, New Jersey (suburban Camden/Philadelphia area). This facility was dedicated to providing for the concerns and care needs of older adults. The Estaugh expanded rapidly in the 1970s and has been relocated and renamed “Medford Leas.” Medford Leas is comprised of 450 residential dwellings of varying design and houses over 700 residents on two campuses. This CCRC employs approximately 400 staffpersons, provides extensive recreational and social facilities, health and wellness care services and programs, and nursing and assisted living care facilities. Medford Leas continues to operate as a non-profit by the Quakers in the Suburban Philadelphia region.