Attorney Leonard M. Singer,
Boston, MA (617) 737-7670 (www.LeonardMSinger.com)
THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF TRANSPORTATION
STATUTE, PROCESS & APPLICATION OF
CHAPTER 40 SECTION 54A
Note: When applying for an application, please note that the process for Chapter 40, Section 54A (a two-month process) requires a public hearing with notice in a local paper. For more information, contact the Rail Division of the Executive Office of Transportation or by calling (617) 973-7000 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAW, CHAPTER 40
PERMITS FOR CONSTRUCTION ON RAILROAD RIGHTS-OF-WAY
SECTION 54A – STATE CONSENT TO ISSUANCE OF PERMITS TO PURCHASER REQUIRED: DAMAGES IN ABSENCE THEREOF
If a city or town or any other person purchases any lands formerly used as a railroad right-of-way or any property appurtenant thereto formerly used by any railroad company in the Commonwealth, no permit to build a structure of any kind on land so purchased shall be issued by any city or town in the Commonwealth without first obtaining, after public hearing, the consent in writing to the issuance of such permit from the Secretary of the Executive Office of Transportation. If said Secretary does not consent to the issuance of such permit, the owner of the land may recover from the Commonwealth such damages as would be awarded under the provisions of Chapter seventy-nine.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the second sentence of the foregoing paragraph, there shall be no recovery from the Commonwealth in damages under said sentence by an owner of such land purchased after January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six.
Executive Office of Transportation
Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 40, Section 54A
Statement of Procedures
All requests for permission to build on former railroad property must be submitted to the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) from the building inspector of the city or town in which the proposed construction will take place.
When applying for an application, please note that the process for Chapter 40, Section 54A (a two-month process) requires a public hearing with notice in a local paper. Any questions or for more information regarding this matter should be directed to the Office of the Rail Property Unit by calling (617)-973-7000 or to (617)-973-7011. Emails can be sent to email@example.com.
All requests should be addressed to:
The following information should be submitted with a completed M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 54A Application form:
(a) A letter from the building inspector requesting a public hearing with a copy of the building permit application (see attached sample letter).
(b) A copy of the plan submitted to the building inspector, with a title block and outlining the former railroad land.
(c) A signed property deed with corresponding plot plan.
(d) A copy of the deed out from the railroad with corresponding plot plan.
(e) A plan of the parcel on which the construction will take place, showing the location of the proposed building and the current and/or former railroad property line boundaries.
(f) A map (locus) of the city, town, or surrounding area showing (highlighted) the location of the property in question.
Upon receipt of the complete application package, EOT will conduct a review of the proposal, which may include reviews by other public agencies.
When the EOT review is complete a date will be set for the public hearing by EOT. The applicant will be responsible for advertising the hearing once in a local newspaper at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the hearing date and to provide the tear sheet with the advertisement prior to the hearing to EOT. A sample hearing notice is attached.
After the public hearing, EOT will review all comments submitted and will send a decision letter to the building inspector. A copy will be sent to the applicant.
BUILDING INSPECTOR LETTER
NOTE: This letter should be re-typed on city or town letterhead. The outlined information below should be supplied and signed by the building inspector
Mr. Bernard Cohen, Secretary
Attn: Office of the Rail Unit
Dear Secretary Cohen:
(NAME OF APPLICANT) has requested a permit to build (DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION) in (CITY/TOWN), Massachusetts. The property for which the permit is requested is located at (ADDRESS OF PROPERTY).
In accordance with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 40, Section 54A, a permit shall not be issued without first obtaining, after a public hearing, the consent in writing to the issuance of such permit from the Secretary of the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT).
I hereby request that a public hearing be held for (NAME OF APPLICANT) to determine whether consent will be granted by EOT to construct the above on the former railroad property.
(BUILDING INSPECTOR’S SIGNATURE)
(PLEASE TYPE OR PRINT)
THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
ADVERTISEMENT FOR NOTICE OF HEARING
Upon request of (NAME) Building Inspector of the (CITY/TOWN), Massachusetts, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 54A, the Executive Office of Transportation shall conduct a hearing to determine whether a building permit shall be issued to (NAME) of (DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION) located at (ADDRESS), Massachusetts and bound by (GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PARCEL). The parcel of land includes part of the properties formerly of the (NAME OF RAILROAD).
The hearing will take place on (DATE) at (TIME) at the Executive Office of Transportation, Suite 3170, located in the Transportation Building, Ten Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116. All interested parties should attend. Inquiries concerning the hearing may be made to the Office of the Rail Unit, Executive Office of Transportation at (617) 973-7011.
TEAR SHEET FROM NEWSPAPER MUST BE SENT TO EOT, ATTN: RAIL UNIT,
PRIOR TO HEARING DATE