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Andrews v. Amherst, Town of

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20069
Nos. No. 05-P-1824, (Mass. App. Ct., 03/05/2007)

A court upheld a town's right to regulate development through zoning that prevents development in flood plains. Landowners filed suit against the town after their property was rezoned from a light industrial zone to a flood-prone conservancy zone. A state land court ruled that the town's action was null and void because it constituted reverse spot zoning. The appellate court, however, ruled that the action constituted a valid exercise of the town's zoning police power. The landowners failed to demonstrate that the rezoning was substantially unrelated to the public health, safety, or general welfare, or that it was arbitrary or unreasonable. Rather, controlling development on land subject to flooding and maintaining adequate flood storage area are rationally related to land use regulation. Further, there was sufficient evidence to show that flooding was a legitimate concern of the town, and the court need not second-guess the town on its judgment as to the extent of predicted flooding and the resulting need for revision of the zoning law.