Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 184, § 30(4) promotes the reasonable use of land for purposes for which it is most suitable, as well as to increases the marketability of real estate which may be impaired by obsolete restrictions. These are proper purposes, of great benefit and utility to the public, which justify the taking of property interests.
Petitioner property owners filed suit seeking a determination and declaration that certain restrictions on their parcel of land were obsolete and unenforceable. After proper notice was give to other property owners, respondent apartment building owners opposed the petition contending petitioner's plan to build a 12-story hotel-apartment building violated the restrictions.
Would it be reasonable to enforce the restrictions for the parcel in the view of the public interest?
The court reversed the trial court's final decree which had held that respondents had no rights to any damages. The court held that Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 184, § 30, which allowed for the removal of restrictions on petitioners' parcel, was constitutionally applied, as the evidence showed that the public interest would not be served by the enforcement of the restrictions. The court held that the restrictions would not be specifically enforced, as the properties and neighborhood had drastically changed and because the restrictions would impede reasonable use of the land. A balance of the equities and a consideration of public interest required that respondents accept money damages by way of enforcement of the restriction. The court remanded the cause to determine damages for loss of benefit in light and air.