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State’s Highest Court agrees to Direct Review of Regis East Land Court RulingMarch 1, 2011
Weston, MA . The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has accepted a request by Regis College to review directly the matter of last year’s adverse Land Court decision, which denied the college the protection of the law to expand its campus for educational use.
The state’s Dover amendment was designed to protect educational and religious organizations from unreasonable local zoning regulations. However, in January 2010, for the first time, the Land Court disregarded Dover, its legislative history and the cases interpreting it, as applied to private, non-profit colleges. It denied Regis College the right to create a diverse educational community for senior adults on its east campus.
Regis East is an educational use as contemplated by the Dover amendment and cases interpreting it, according to the College, and thus should be exempted from unreasonable Weston zoning by-laws, which now restrict any building on the 60 acres of undeveloped College-owned land to three single-family residences.
“We are very pleased that the state’s Supreme Judicial Court has agreed so quickly to review this case,” said Regis President Mary Jane England, MD. “We all understand that this case has implications for colleges and universities across the Commonwealth.”
Regis’ request to the SJC for direct appellate review is to reaffirm the high court’s prior interpretation of the Dover Amendment, clarify its definition of educational purposes and affirm the value of intergenerational educational settings to meet the needs of our society’s rapidly shifting demographics.
A date has not yet been set for the SJC hearing.
The Regis East proposal calls for several buildings to be built on Regis property on the east side of Wellesley Street in Weston. Plans include children’s classrooms, classrooms for lifelong learning and college uses, computer labs, libraries and clinical teaching space. Also included are up to 362 residential living units for seniors, all linked to the education resources of the existing campus. Each resident would have an individualized learning plan and be required to take at least two courses each semester, four courses each year. Regis East will provide internships to Regis College students in gerontology, social work and management. Students at all levels of nursing education will have rotation opportunities on the East Campus.
Regis College is a Catholic co-educational community that prepares undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students for engagement and service in a changing world. In the School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Sciences and the School of Nursing, Sciences and Health Professions, approximately 1,600 students are enrolled in 17 undergraduate majors; 30 minors; 10 interdisciplinary pathways toward professional success; and master’s degree programs in education, communication, health administration, health product regulation, and nursing, and a doctoral program in nursing practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regis in the top tier of universities with master’s programs in the North. The College is listed by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) among benchmarking colleges for the quality of educational experience. With a strategic graduate focus on health care, Regis College was recently named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. The College also provides accredited pre-school and kindergarten programs and a Life Long Learning Program (LLARC) for retired seniors.
CONTACT: Marjorie Arons-Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org; 617-435-2707