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Rayco Inv. Corp. v. Board of Selectmen

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

February 4, 1975, Argued ; July 22, 1975, Decided

No Number in Original


 [*386]   [**911]  This is a bill for declaratory relief under G. L. c. 231A in which the plaintiff seeks a declaration concerning the effect of a purported town by-law on its right to operate a mobile home park on property located in the town of Raynham. The Superior Court judge dismissed the bill after issuing "Findings, Rulings and Order for Decree,"  [***3]  whereupon the plaintiff brought this appeal. The case was submitted on a statement of agreed facts, which can be summarized briefly.

The plaintiff is the owner of a parcel of land in Raynham in an area which at all material times has been zoned for "general use," that is, "land which is not zoned at this time." Sometime prior to October 14, 1971, the plaintiff's predecessor in title submitted to the town's planning board a plan with respect to that parcel. An exhibit indicates that on October 14 the planning board indorsed the plan with the notation, "approval under the subdivision control law not required." See G. L. c. 41, § 81P. Four days later, on October 18, 1971, the town voted to adopt a by-law (the 1971 by-law) limiting the number of licenses which could be issued for trailer parks. The 1971 by-law reads in its entirety as follows: "The maximum number of outstanding trailer park licenses issued under G. L. Chapter 140, shall not exceed at any time the number of said licenses issued by the Board of Health, and in conformity with applicable Zoning By-Laws, as of October 1, 1971." The statement of agreed facts does not disclose the procedure by which the town purported to [***4]  adopt the 1971 by-law other than  [*387]  to state that it was subsequently approved by the Attorney General's office in January, 1972. It is agreed by the parties that prior to the 1971 by-law operating a "trailer park" would have been an allowable use of the land in question.

On or about November 1, 1972, the plaintiff submitted to the town board of health an application for a license to operate a trailer park on the plaintiff's parcel of land. On or about November 10, 1972, town counsel informed the plaintiff that the board of health would not set a date for a hearing on the application, citing as the reason the existence of the by-law limiting the maximum number of trailer park licenses to those outstanding as of October 1, 1971.

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368 Mass. 385 *; 331 N.E.2d 910 **; 1975 Mass. LEXIS 1008 ***

Rayco Investment Corp. v. Board of Selectmen of Raynham & another 1

Prior History:  [***1]  Bristol.

Bill in equity filed in the Superior Court on March 2, 1974.

The suit was heard by Griffin, J.

After review was sought in the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court, on its own initiative, ordered direct appellate review.


by-law, zoning, trailer park, license, regulation, police power, board of health, Enabling, planning board, zoning power, provisions, land use, Municipal, mobile home park, subdivision, purported, Trailer

Business & Corporate Compliance, Real Property Law, Zoning, Constitutional Limits, Governments, Local Governments, Ordinances & Regulations, Administrative Boards, Claims By & Against, Real Property Law, Subdivisions, General Overview, Local Regulations, Ordinances, Environmental Law, Land Use & Zoning, Mobilehomes & Mobilehome Parks, Installation & Transportation, Transportation Law, Commercial Vehicles, Traffic Regulation, Equitable & Statutory Limits, Police Power, Local Planning, Regional & State Planning