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Kenner v. Zoning Board of Appeals

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
944 N.E.2d 163 (2011)


Facts

The zoning board of appeals of Chatham (the Board) (defendant) granted a permit to Louis and Ellen Hieb (defendants) in June 2006 for the demolition, reconstruction, and expansion of the Hiebs’ house. Brian and Carol Kenner (plaintiffs) lived across the street from the Hiebs and challenged the permit in land court, claiming that the new house would obstruct the Kenners’ ocean view from their property and diminish the property’s value. The Kenners further argued that a wall allowed by the permit would make it impossible for two vehicles to pass each other and would force one car to go onto the Kenners’ property. The Hiebs argued that the Kenners were not aggrieved parties under Massachusetts law and lacked standing to sue. The Hiebs presented unchallenged evidence that the new house would only be seven feet taller and that the roof of the Hiebs’ new house would be 34.3 feet above sea level. In comparison, the top of the foundation of the Kenners’ house was 32.5 feet above sea level. The trial judge agreed that the Kenners lacked standing and had failed to show that the Board acted improperly. The appeals court reversed, and the Hiebs and the Board filed for review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Spina, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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