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Land Use, Permitting and Development

Why Nutter for Land Use, Permitting and Development

We work closely with our clients and other members of the development team to achieve our clients' goals in a prompt, cost-efficient manner.

We have the experience to anticipate and to identify the problems that often occur in real estate development projects and the creative ability to develop practical solutions. We understand the thinking of state and local officials, lenders, and other key players in the development process because we have represented each of these parties in different transactions.

While focused on achieving our clients' goals, we also focus on being collaborative with other parties in the development process. This approach both expedites the development process and maintains good relations for future projects.

Members of the Nutter real estate team have been asked to assist in the drafting of local and state laws regarding land use. Since we have written local zoning codes and by-laws for many municipalities, we know about the unique land use concerns of many communities that relate to wetlands, stormwater issues, solid waste, traffic and similar matters. We know how permits and approvals are issued.

Those are some of the reasons why our clients often look to us for more than legal advice. Because they know our team brings a special blend of experience, creativity and cooperation to their projects, they also often entrust us with important roles assisting in project management, coordination and strategic planning.

Our Team

Our land use, permitting and development team includes: 

  • Three partners who have consistently been named to the peer-reviewed “Best Lawyers in America” list; 
  • Four lawyers who were named as Massachusetts Super Lawyers in a Boston Magazine survey; 
  • Three lawyers who were listed as “leaders in their field” by Chambers USA 2011; 
  • Lawyers who have been chosen to serve as court-appointed receivers and special masters; and 
  • A former Chief of Staff to the Massachusetts Speaker of the House.

Nutter is also: 

  • Ranked as a tier one Boston firm for real estate work by U.S. News and World Report; and 
  • Listed among the top-ranked firms in real estate in Massachusetts by the highly-regarded Chambers USA survey.

Who We Represent

Our team understands the unique needs of clients from all sectors of the economy. Our clients include: 

  • Owners and developers 
  • Companies in the biotech, life sciences and health care industries 
  • Colleges, universities and other educational institutions 
  • Energy and power companies 
  • Financial services institutions, investors and pension funds 
  • Manufacturers and retailers 
  • Government entities 
  • Public-private partnerships 
  • Redevelopment authorities 
  • Non-profit entities involved in health care, recreation, education and the arts

What We Do

Our clients look to us to act as their advocates, advisors, negotiators and drafters for every aspect of their land use and development needs. They also look to us for our permitting and licensing expertise, including assistance with project coordination and management.

Typical tasks we perform in connection with development projects include: 

  • Performing due diligence to identify and to solve problems at an early stage that otherwise could jeopardize a project’s success; 
  • Negotiating relevant purchase and sale and other land control agreements; 
  • Negotiating and drafting relevant agreements with engineers, architects, and contractors; 
  • Obtaining all necessary permits and approvals from planning boards, zoning authorities, conservation commissions and other agencies or officials, including local, state and federal environmental authorities; 
  • Identifying and solving environmental issues related to regulations affecting wetlands, coastal preservation, waste water, air and water quality and hazardous materials; 
  • Negotiating and drafting contract provisions pertinent to environmental exposure, worker health and safety, and related issues, including environmental insurance policies, indemnities and other risk-shifting agreements; 
  • Advocating for our clients before administrative agencies, such as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Boston Redevelopment Authority; and 
  • Negotiating and drafting all documents related to bond or other types of financing.

Our clients also call on Nutter to assist them in connection with a wide array of specific types of development projects, including: 

  • Mixed use development; 
  • Major redevelopment projects, including projects involving former military bases or abandoned industrial facilities; 
  • Multi-family residential; 
  • Specialized housing projects for seniors and others with special needs; 
  • Office; 
  • Retail, including major shopping centers and small strip centers; 
  • Transit-oriented; 
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities; 
  • Laboratories, research and development centers for biotech and life sciences work 
  • Water and wastewater facility projects; 
  • Industrial projects; and 
  • Power plant projects.


When other means do not prove effective, Nutter attorneys are prepared to help our clients attain their objectives through administrative or judicial proceedings. We have had a great deal of success resolving such disputes.

Our team members have acted as effective advocates in proceedings conducted by: 

  • Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and other federal and state agencies; 
  • Local planning and zoning boards, conservation commissions and other municipal boards; 
  • Various development and redevelopment authorities; and 
  • Regional commissions.