Description: Challenge to local restriction on commercial uses in residential zones that prohibited access road for a solar energy facility.
Tracer Lane II Realty, LLC v. City of Waltham
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/02/2022 Opinion Download Judgment that prohibition was improper affirmed. Massachusetts High Court Said Zoning Code Restriction on Solar Energy Violated State Law. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a Land Court determination that a local prohibition on solar energy systems, including access roads for such systems, in a residential zone was improper because Massachusetts law “protects solar energy systems from local regulation that is not ‘necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare.’” The court noted that the Town of Waltham’s zoning code prohibited large-scale solar systems—which are “key to promoting solar energy in the Commonwealth” and to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050—in at most one to two percent of its land area. The Supreme Judicial Court said the record did not suggest that this “stringent limitation” was necessary to protect public health, safety, or welfare. Therefore, the zoning code violated the solar energy provision in Massachusetts law.