Luke H. Legere
Luke H. Legere, Esq.

Mr. Legere’s court cases, administrative hearings, enforcement matters, and negotiated settlements reflect his command of substantive law, effective tactics and strategies, and excellent writing and oral advocacy.

SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT CASES

Smith v. City of Westfield, 478 Mass. 49 (2017): submitted an amicus brief successfully arguing that land may be designated and qualify for protection under Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution without recording a deed, conservation restriction or other instrument at the Registry of Deeds.

New England Forestry Foundation v. Town of Hawley, 468 Mass 138 (2014): submitted an amicus brief successfully arguing that the state Appellate Tax Board wrongly concluded that conservation of forestland does not qualify for a municipal real estate tax exemption under state tax statutes.

Mahajan v. Dept. of Envtl. Protection, 464 Mass. 604 (2013): represented the “North End Ten” in their citizens’ challenge of MassDEP’s issuance of a Chapter 91 Tidelands and Waterways license allowing the Boston Redevelopment Authority to lease part of Boston’s historic Long Wharf for use as a private restaurant.

Ten Persons of the Commonwealth v. Fellsway Development, LLC, 460 Mass. 366 (2011): submitted an amicus brief successfully arguing that a group of ten citizens had the right to a trial to determine whether a project’s proponents illegally segmented the project to avoid review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (“MEPA”).

Blair v. Department of Conservation and Recreation, 457 Mass. 634 (2010): submitted an amicus brief successfully arguing that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s denial of a variance under the Watershed Protection Act for a proposed beach and lawn expansion did not constitute a compensable categorical or regulatory taking.

Gove v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Chatham, 444 Mass. 754 (2005): submitted an amicus brief successfully arguing that a Cape Cod town’s zoning bylaw, banning new residential structures in a “coastal conservancy district,” did not deprive the owner of all economically beneficial uses so as to be a total regulatory taking.

TRIALS, APPEALS AND ADJUDICATORY HEARINGS

McWilliams v. Town of Rockport, Civil Action No. 17-MISC-000193-GHP (Mass. Land Ct. 2020): challenged, at a fully contested trial in state Land Court, the Rockport Zoning Board of Appeals’ approval of a Special Permit to increase outdoor seating capacity at a local restaurant.

Taxpayers Concerned for Baldwin v. Town of Brookline, Civil Action No.1882-CV-01517 (Mass. Super. 2020): successfully defended the Town of Brookline against claims alleging unlawful expenditures, violations of Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, and other conduct of municipal officials related to the proposed construction of an elementary school.

Neighbors of Baldwin v. Town of Brookline, Civil Action No.1982-CV-00252 (Mass. Super. 2020): successfully defended the Town of Brookline against claims alleging unlawful expenditures related to the municipal Transportation Board’s approval of parking plans at two sites in Brookline.

Rapczynski v. White, Civil Action No. MISC-000410-HPS (Mass. Land Ct. 2019): successfully defended private property owner against a claim seeking to restrict the right to use an easement for beach access in Scituate.

Petition of NSTAR Electric Co. d/b/a Eversource Energy, EFSB 17-02 / D.P.U. 17-82 / D.P.U. 17-83 (December 18, 2019): represented the Town of Hudson in the Energy Facility Siting Board’s evidentiary hearings regarding the proposed construction, operation and maintenance of an electrical transmission line.

Hancock Village I, LLC v. Town of Brookline, Civil Action No. 18-PS-000192-HPS (Mass. Land Ct. 2019): defended the Town of Brookline against a challenge to the legality of its Neighborhood Conservation District Bylaw.

In the Matter of Tennessee Gas Pipeline, LLC, Final Decision, Docket No. 2016-020, 24 DEPR 76 (March 27, 2017): challenged, in a fully contested trial-type hearing in MassDEP, a Water Quality Certification approving the expansion of a natural gas pipeline in Western Massachusetts.

Rosenthal v. Lieberman, Civil Action No. 1477-CV-01864 (Mass. Super. 2016): successfully challenged a conservation commission’s approval of the demolition of a coastal residence and construction of a significantly larger residence.

In the Matter of Webster Ventures, LLC, Final Decision, Docket No. 2015-014 23 DEPR 60 (June 15, 2016): challenged, in a fully contested trial-type hearing in MassDEP, a Chapter 91 License allowing the expansion of a commercial marina including a berth for a 75-foot long paddle wheel boat.

In the Matter of David and Zoila Comeau, Final Decision, Docket No. WET-2015-011 (October 29, 2015): successfully defended private property owner against appeal of a permit issued under the state Wetlands Protection Act for improvements to private roadway.

In the Matter of David Fuhrmann, Final Decision, Docket No. 2013-037, 22 DEPR 31 (April 8, 2015): successfully represented a private waterfront property owner seeking a Chapter 91 license to install a water ski slalom course in a Great Pond in an adjudicatory hearing in MassDEP.

Nickolas v. City of Marlborough, MICV2013-05608 (Mass. Super. 2014): successfully defended the City of Marlborough against claims that it had not complied with Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution in building a senior center and making improvements to Ward Park, by winning on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings after the Superior Court ruled that the plaintiffs’ claims failed as a matter of law.

Conservation Law Foundation v. Environmental Protection Agency, Cases 1:10-cv-11455-MLW; 1:11-cv-11657-MLW (D. Mass): represented a Cape Cod municipality and water supply utilities in litigation filed in federal District Court by the Conservation Law Foundation of New England, Inc., broadly challenging EPA’s implementation of the federal Clean Water Act.

O’Brien Homes, Inc. v. Town of Lunenburg, Civil Action No. WOCV2014-0631-D (Mass. Super. 2014): prevailed in appeals to Superior Court and MassDEP challenging a municipal conservation commission’s refusal to issue state and local wetlands permits associated with a residential subdivision.

Lombardi v. McFarland, Civil Action No. SUCV2013-00273-BLS1 (Mass. Super. 2015): successfully defended in the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session a conservationist against tort claims arising from a proposed real estate development successfully opposed in local and state agencies and court.

Griffin v. Department of Conservation and Recreation, 86 Mass. App. Ct. 1107 (2014): challenged in state Appeals Court a state DCR ruling, involving statutory grandfather protections, prohibiting a private landowner from subdividing and building a residence on property subject to the Watershed Protection Act.

Fox Pond Association v. Town of Chatham, BACV2013-00149 (Mass. Super. 2013): successfully represented a neighborhood association in Superior Court and MassDEP, challenging the municipal denial of state and local wetlands permits for professional management of a private neighborhood pond on Cape Cod.

Attleboro Sand & Gravel Corp. v. City of Attleboro, BRCV2011-0705-C (Mass. Super. 2012): successfully challenged in Superior Court an enforcement order issued by the local conservation commission based on faulty premise and findings.

Brooks Pond Conservation Association v. Starr, 79 Mass. App. Ct. 1130 (2011): successfully defended a private, non-profit pond association’s right to establish and enforce rules and regulations governing the use of its privately owned pond, and secured relief against offending watercraft and vehicles.

Matter of Michael Newman and Polly Kornblith, Final Decision, Docket No. WET-2010-016, 17 DEPR 471 (November 16, 2010): successfully challenged, in a fully contested adjudicatory hearing in MassDEP, expansion of a proposed horse farm in a residential neighborhood using highly technical documentation of offsite impacts to Resource Areas. Successfully defended that victory in Land Court against further appeal.

Wildstar Farm, LLC, et al v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Norfolk Land Court, Civil Action No. 10-PS-443877 (July 8, 2011).

NEGOTIATIONS AND SETTLEMENTS

Gardener v. Westwood Zoning Board of Appeals, et. al., Civil Action No. 1782-CV-00854 (Mass. Super. 2019) and Civil Action No. 16-MISC-000426-HPS (Mass. Land Ct. 2017): defended a private property owner against two related lawsuits challenging an approval under M.G.L. c. 40B, both of which were ultimately dismissed following settlement between the parties.

City of New Bedford v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, et. al: secured in Alternative Dispute Resolution a $3 million settlement as reimbursement for the City of New Bedford’s clean-up of hazardous waste historically released by former operators and owners of the New Bedford Railroad Depot property.

Mahoney-Almenas v. Town of Westwood, Civil Action No. 15-MISC-000426-JCC (Mass. Land Ct. 2016): negotiated a successful settlement to resolve his client’s lawsuit challenging a decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Kalogianis v. Town of Nahant, ESCV2012-01722 (Mass. Super. 2012): brokered a successful settlement to resolve his client’s zoning appeal challenging the use of a town-owned historic building as a commercial rental facility for social functions, with resulting impacts and issues.

Matter of David J. McCahon, Final Decision, Docket No. WET-2014-007 (July 7, 2014): reached settlement with MassDEP and a private landowner on behalf of his client conservation commission regarding construction within Riverfront Area.

Negotiated, drafted and executed a $1 million Development Agreement between his client, the Town of Acton, and a large national housing developer for contributions to the municipal affordable housing fund and road and sidewalk improvements, related to a 350-unit Affordable Housing project under the state Affordable Housing Statute, G.L.c.40B.

43 Church Street Nominee Trust v. Falmouth Conservation Commission, BACV2006-00732 (Mass. Super. 2010): reached agreement following successful Superior Court litigation, appealing an Order of Conditions issued by a local conservation commission, to end the matter with revised permit language.

ENFORCEMENT AND DEFENSE

In the Matter of the Old Farm Road Water Trust: guided a group of private property owners through the MassDEP enforcement process to compliance and favorable resolution of asserted violation of state drinking water standards.

In the Matter of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School: helped a school district under MassDEP deadlines achieve complete resolution and cost-effective compliance with state wastewater regulations.

In the Matter of O’Brien Homes, Inc.: reached settlement with MassDEP in an enforcement action stemming from alleged wetland violations by his client real estate developer.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Luke H. Legere, Water Pollution Control, Massachusetts Environmental Law, Chapter 15 (MCLE, Inc., 4th ed. 2016, 2019 Supplement)

“Federal District Court Rejects Argument that Discharges to Groundwater Require Permits Under the Clean Water Act” REBA News, January 2020 (Real Estate Bar Association)

“Court Decision Reminds Us Who Can Enforce the Public Trust Doctrine and Reserved Public Rights in Tidelands” MACC Quarterly, Winter 2019 (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions)

“Standing for Environmental Appeals Within MassDEP and to Court” MACC Quarterly, Summer 2017 (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions)

“Natural Gas Pipeline 101: The FERC Permitting Process, Federal Preemption, and Eminent Domain” MACC Quarterly, Spring 2015 (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions)

“Supreme Judicial Court Upholds MESA Regulations for Delineating and Regulating Priority Habitat” REBA News, May 2014 (Real Estate Bar Association)

“Supreme Judicial Court Verifies Property Tax Exemption for Open Space held by Non-Profit Conservation Organizations” MACC Quarterly, Summer 2014

“State Appeals Court Sets Trigger for Seeking Certiorari Review of a Local Board’s Decision” REBA News, January 2012

“SJC Rejects ‘Partial’ Regulatory Taking Claim” MACC Newsletter, November/December 2010

“Without Clearly Defined Performance Standards, a Local Wetlands Ordinance or Bylaw May be Worthless” MACC Newsletter, May/June 2009

“Home Rule: Use it or Lose it” AMWS Newsletter, July 2009 (Association of Massachusetts Wetlands Scientists)

“Court Disallows Newton’s Use of CPA Funds for Parks” MACC Newsletter, November/December 2008