Land Court Victory for Town of Braintree in Zoning Appeal

Attorney Carolyn Murray recently won a Land Court decision dismissing an abutters’ appeal of the issuance of a building permit due to the abutters’ failure to have filed their appeal within 30-day deadline from their receipt of notice of the issuance of the building permit. Such a result is of particular interest due to the novel argument raised by the abutters and rejected by the Court. The abutters argued that they were excused from meeting the otherwise rigid deadline because, they alleged, they had relied upon advice received from the town’s attorney, whose advice, they argued, was rightly given greater weight than a statement by any other town official. Although the town disputed that its legal counsel had given advice to the abutters about the filing deadline, the Court ruled that regardless of whether such advice had been given, a party who wishes to bring an appeal must confirm deadlines independently, and not rely on the statements of any town board member or other official.