Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 7, 2015

MA Land Court Finds Light from Headlights was Sufficient to Establish Standing

Plaintiff Anthony Pelullo appealled from two decisions of the Natick Zoning Board of Appeals. They were a consequence of this court’s earlier decision in Pelullo v. Hickey, now affirmed by the Appeals Court, which determined that the building permit issued to construct the house now owned by defendants Michael and Lisa Ware at 15 Upland Road was invalid because the Ware lot had insufficient lot depth. Shortly after the building permit was invalidated, the Wares applied to the Zoning Board for a variance from the lot depth requirement, which the Board granted. Pelullo’s appeal hinged on whether or not he had standing, since only a ‘person aggrieved’ may challenge a decision of a zoning board of appeals.

Many of Mr. Pelullo’s claims regarding traffic and noise, while credible, were not substantial enough to confer standing. Noise generated from a lawn being cut, a garbage truck that came once a week, and from the mail truck did not constitute a showing of more than minimal or slightly appreciable harm. However, Mr. Pelullo proved his standing, with respect to the headlights from the Wares’ vehicles and those of their evening-hour visitors that shine into the Pelullo bedrooms when exiting the driveway. This was a direct impact that occurred at least nightly, and would not have occurred if the house had not been built. Because this interfered with the use and enjoyment of the Pelullo home, the court invalidated the Zoning Board’s decision and would have a separate session to decide on the most appropriate remedy.

Pelullo v Landgren, 2014 WL 6792558 (MA Land Ct. 12/3/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://masscases.com/cases/land/2014/2014-13-478907-DECISION.html


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