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Supreme Judicial Court sides with RegisMay 22, 2012
Weston, MA. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has declared that Regis College is entitled to assert protection for its Regis East senior living and learning project as an educational use under the Dover Amendment. The decision reverses last year’s adverse Land Court ruling, which had summarily denied the college, without a trial on the facts, the protection of the law to expand its campus for educational use.
“We are enormously gratified that the state’s highest court has recognized that Regis College is entitled to assert legal protection for our proposed Regis East project, as conceptualized, as an educational use under the Dover Amendment. The SJC has remanded the case to the Land Court for further proceedings toward its realization. Regis looks forward to engaging in discussions with town officials and the community in the prospect of moving forward collaboratively, “ said Regis President Antoinette Hays, PhD, RN.
The state’s Dover Amendment was designed to protect educational and religious organizations from unreasonable local zoning regulations prohibiting their activities based on use. Current Weston zoning by-laws severely restrict any building on the 60 acres of undeveloped College-owned land to single-family residences.
“We are very pleased with the state Supreme Judicial Court‘s decision,” said Thomas Pistorino, Regis Vice President, Finance and Business. “We are especially pleased that this case reaffirms rights and protections under the Dover Amendment for colleges and universities across the Commonwealth.”
The Regis East proposal that was at issue before the Supreme Judicial Court 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. Residential living units for seniors would be linked to the education resources of the existing campus, with an individualized learning plan for each resident. Regis East will provide internships to Regis College students in gerontology, social work and management and rotation opportunities for nursing students.
The decision by the Supreme Judicial Court directs the Land Court to re-open the case for a factual determination as to the various elements of the Regis East development, to confirm the existence and validity of its various intrinsic educational components, which, if found to be present, would entitle the entire development to Dover protection under that decision.