MAR Successfully Defends Affordable Housing

January 5, 2024

- By The MAR Legal Team

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) released its decision in Carroll v. Norwell, holding in-line with MAR’s amicus brief to protect land reserved for affordable housing uses. In the case, the town of Norwell designated land for affordable housing purposes in 2004. Over the next seventeen years, the town took several steps to prepare for potential future affordable housing development on the land. In 2021, when the town was finally closing in on development, abutters succeeded in passing a town meeting petition to revert the land to conservation uses.

MAR’s brief made legal arguments that the town had sufficiently reserved the land for affordable housing uses that could not be overridden by the town meeting vote. In addition, it chastised the town for its long refusal to build affordable housing or engage residents on explaining its importance. Norwell, the brief explains, is representative of many Massachusetts towns, and thus it is especially important to make sure land reserved for affordable housing development maintains that status, otherwise we will see more attempts by NIMBY neighbors to block housing similar to this case. Read MAR’s brief here.