By Sean Turley
Just as you would want to be well prepared to present your proposed project to a planning board, you should be equally prepared in the event that you choose to oppose someone else’s proposal.
Start as early in the process as possible.
Once you’ve heard about a project, the timeline to file any objections can be relatively short, so you need to act fast in order to appear at a meeting and make your feelings known. It is often more effective to get involved and have your voice heard as early as possible in the process. Once a board has made a decision the ship has sailed, so it’s important to involve an attorney before a board has approved a project.
Determine when a project is worth opposing.
First things first, an attorney can help determine if the project you’ve taken issue with is worth fighting. In some cases, there may be several reasons why you personally don’t like a particular project, but if it follows the town’s ordinances it will be fine from a board’s perspective. If this is the case, it’s better to know that before pursuing an appeal or potentially going to court so that you do not waste time and money fighting a losing battle. You can always choose to oppose something, but an attorney will be able to determine what legal grounds there are for your opposition.
Decide what an outcome you can live with looks like.
Discuss with your attorney what an acceptable outcome looks like from your perspective. You may not be able to get a project entirely shut down, but you may succeed in convincing a board to attach conditions to its approval of a project that address your concerns, such as by requiring a developer to take certain steps to lessen a project’s impact on the neighborhood.
Reach out to our land use team for guidance if there’s a project you’re planning to oppose.