NATHANIEL STEVENS, Esq. is a Senior Associate of the Firm. Since being admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1996, he has handled a broad range of environmental and land use matters, from administrative law to litigation. He has helped clients with environmental issues including permitting, development, contamination, transactions, conservation, real estate restrictions, underground tanks, water supply, water pollution, subdivision control, tidelands licensing, Boston and state zoning, coastal and inland wetlands, stormwater, air pollution, and energy facility siting.
Mr. Stevens’ work includes state court litigation over liability for property damage, insurance claims for environmental damage, cost-recovery for contamination cleanups, and damage to municipal lands and public natural resources. His permit-related and administrative litigation includes bringing and defending challenges to conservation commission permits for wetlands work, interpreting and enforcing conservation restrictions, and reviewing decisions by the Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”). He handles adjudicatory proceedings in MassDEP, the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (“DALA”), the Energy Facilities Siting Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”).
In addition to litigation, Mr. Stevens has utilized dispute resolution and other problem-solving skills to efficiently and effectively achieve his client’s goals. This includes working with land owners and land conservation organizations on a variety of permitting, land use, and management issues.
Mr. Stevens has conducted training through the Citizen Planner Training Collaborative (“CPTC”) for Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeals on the Zoning Act and Subdivision Control Law. He has led Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commission (“MACC”) workshops and training units for Conservation Commissions on the Wetlands Protection Act, Home Rule, the Open Meeting Law, and the Public Records Law.
Mr. Stevens has written for legal and environmental publications on subjects including wetlands protection law at the local and state level, quorum requirements for local boards and commissions, MassDEP regulatory reforms, Home Rule and preemption, EPA programs, and state Brownfields Law. His articles on changes to the Wetlands Protection Act and to the Permit Extension Act have been published by the Real Estate Bar Association, MACC, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (“ACEC-MA”).
Mr. Stevens is a member of the American, Massachusetts, and Boston Bar Associations. He is co-chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Boston Bar Association’s Real Estate Section.
Mr. Stevens currently serves as Chair of the Arlington Conservation Commission. He served on the Board of Directors of the Arlington Land Trust, Inc. and on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association, a New Hampshire member-supported nonprofit education and research watershed protection organization.
Prior to law school, Mr. Stevens was awarded a John Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship to study national marine policy in Washington, D.C. During and after this national fellowship, he worked on wetlands policy issues in EPA’s Wetlands Division. In his first year of law school, Mr. Stevens was awarded “Best Brief” in Moot Court Competition. In his second year of law school, he obtained through a writing competition a position on one of the school’s two law journals and published an article on hydropower.
Mr. Stevens is a graduate of Vassar College and Suffolk University Law School (cum laude), with a Masters of Science in Natural Resource Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.
The Appeals Court in Parkview Electronics Trust, LLC v. Conservation Commission of Winchester, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 833 (2016), reinforced the well-established principle that a local conservation commission can have regulatory authority under a wetlands bylaw or ordinance (hereinafter “bylaw”) that is independent from, and in addition to, its authority under the state Wetlands Protection Act (“Act”).
Following a two day trial, Hon. Robert Foster of the Land Court recently rejected an abutter’s claim to the portion of a Falmouth family’s lot where they plan to build an addition to their seasonal cottage. The Court found that the presumption of land ownership to low water, derived by the Colonial Ordinances, did not apply. The Court invoked the doctrine of adverse possession by color of title to find for the Falmouth family on an alternative claim.
The Appeals Court in Parkview Electronics Trust, LLC v. Conservation Commission of Winchester, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 833 (2016), recently rejected a challenge to the well-established principle that a conservation commission can have regulatory authority under a local wetlands bylaw or ordinance that is independent from, and in addition to, its authority under the state Wetlands Protection Act (“Act”). This is so as long as a commission relies on a provision of its local wetlands law that is more stringent than the Act and complies with the timeframes set forth in the Act. Otherwise a commission risks having its decisions under both state and local laws superseded by MassDEP in an appeal under the Act.