DiRico v. Town of Kingston

458 Mass. 83, 934 N.E.2d 208 (2010)

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DiRico v. Town of Kingston

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
458 Mass. 83, 934 N.E.2d 208 (2010)

Facts

Thorndike Development Corporation (Thorndike) (defendant) wanted to create a smart-growth zoning district on property located in the Town of Kingston (the town) (defendant). As required by statute, the town applied to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (the department) for approval of the proposed district. Included in its application was a certification of the amount of developable land in the district. After the application was filed, a large portion of the land within the proposed district was designated as a priority habitat for several state-listed rare species, reducing the amount of developable land. The town subsequently learned about this designation but did not amend its application. The department approved the project subject to certain conditions, including a requirement that the town file annual updates concerning several details of the district, including the developable land area. The town subsequently enacted a zoning amendment to facilitate the creation of the district, but it still did not inform the department about the reduced developable land area. The department ultimately granted final approval of the project. Jennifer DiRico (plaintiff), a neighboring landowner, sued to invalidate the zoning amendment because the town had failed to inform the department of the reduced amount of developable land. The land-court judge determined that the town’s calculation of the amount of developable land was incorrect but that the error did not invalidate the zoning amendment. DiRico appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ireland, J.)

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