Firm Successes – Fall 2017

Tom Mackie and John Shea were selected by Best Lawyers of America (2018 edition) for Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation.  The Firm was ranked in Best Law Firms as Tier 1 Boston and Tier 2 nationally.  Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer- review publication in the legal profession for “legal expertise, ethics and professionalism of the highest caliber.”

Peter Durning obtained Special Permits approving the Town of Concord’s replacement of an aged public water supply treatment facility and surface water intake pipe, after a year-long hotly contested public hearing.      

John conducted a multi-day public hearing on a transfer station site assignment modification for the Northbridge Board of Health.

Peter obtained an Order of Conditions approving a uniquely designed single-family home against vociferous neighborhood opposition for over a year in Arlington.

The New England Real Estate Journal selected John’s client’s commercial mixed-use development as “Project of the Month” (September 22-28, 2017, Section B, centerfold, nerej.com).  Olde Shrewsbury Village was a colonial-style shopping center with a footbridge at the junction of Routes 9 and 20 in Shrewsbury.  Turtle Rock, LLC, the owner, developed an ambitious revitalization plan that included relocating an internal stream to the property perimeter in order to create parking close to the retail shops.  Mackie Shea was on an elite development team that advanced a creative technical, legal and political strategy, and over four years secured local, state and federal permits and approvals.  Little Bummet Brook was transformed from a stormwater drainage ditch into a vibrant stream and ecosystem.  Construction was timed to avoid potential impacts to the Northern Long-Eared Bat, a newly listed endangered species.

John obtained two novel Advisory Opinions under MEPA. The first confirmed that land alternation (including a 5-year look back) did not require environmental review for a 50-acre commercial subdivision in Lancaster.  He also secured a Determination from MassDEP that a wastewater treatment plant is not required, and assisted in obtaining public water supply wells for the “anchor” businesses.  The second Advisory Opinion confirmed that an Eversource solar power array on his client’s coal ash landfill was non-jurisdictional, and could proceed with MassDEP post-closure use permitting.

John negotiated Administrative Consent Orders (ACO) with MassDEP approving wetland restoration and mitigation for sedimentation for a national home builder, a regional condominium developer, and a national assisted living and memory care company for historically filled wetlands and an MCP Brownfields cleanup.

Tom successfully defended against a Town’s attempt to invalidate the extension of contracts to operate a municipal transfer station, and to transport and dispose of the Town’s waste; negotiated a purchase and sale agreement for acquisition of a recycling facility on a Brownfields site; and obtained a site assignment modification allowing a construction and demolition debris processing facility to transfer by rail municipal solid waste and mildly contaminated soil.

Tom obtained reconsideration and reversal of a regional electrical transmission authority’s determination that a request for extension of an interconnection agreement with a transmission company was a major modification, avoiding new interconnection studies and applications.

Tom and John were named for Environmental Law and Peter for Environmental Litigation to the 2017 Massachusetts SuperLawyers List.  Gail Hire was selected as a Rising Star.  SuperLawyers have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The designations are based on third-party research, balloting by lawyers, and a peer review process.

Tom Mackie Provides Pro Bono Legal Services to the Greenwood Memorial United Methodist Church in Dorchester

With pro-bono legal help from Tom Mackie the Greenwood Memorial United Methodist Church in Dorchester recently replaced its roof and made significant other exterior repairs. The Greenwood Church was constructed between 1900-1901 and designed by Boston architect Walter J. Paine. The building is a shingle-style Gothic Revival, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2016, the church received an emergency grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Projects Fund to address roof and wall leaks.

Tom has provided pro-bono legal help to the Greenwood Church for over a decade. His first project involved the installation of a handicap access ramp project co-sponsored by the Sudbury United Methodist Church sister congregation that Tom attends. For the roof replacement project, Tom worked with Greenwood Trustee, Jeanette Merren, to document a loan from the United Methodist Foundation, satisfy requirements of the Mass Historical grant, and review the construction contract.

Firm Successes – Spring 2017

Tom Mackie and Peter Durning secured final victories over the Conservation Law Foundation and other opponents to our client’s proposed Springfield, MA biomass energy facility by defeating an air plan appeal in the Superior Court and a noisome trade site assignment petition before the Springfield Public Health Commission.

John Shea assisted Jacqueline Nuñez of the WonderGroup in securing a MassDEP Superseding Determination of Applicability that allows this first-of-its-kind green housing development within the City of Boston to move forward.

Through their adjudicatory appeal of a MassDEP air plan approval, John Shea and Peter Durning secured protection for the neighbors to a new industrial facility in the form of additional air emission controls; compliance testing; noise mitigation and monitoring; and limited hours of operation.

Peter Durning and John Shea provided due diligence support and compliance advice under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan for structuring the acquisition and cleanup of a contaminated property to a national developer who is building a mixed-use residential and commercial project in Belmont.

John Shea assisted in achieving a Temporary Solution in compliance with a Consent Judgment deadline for the cleanup of a metal finishing site in Taunton, and conducted public hearings on site assignment modifications for landfill operations as the Hearing Officer to the Taunton and Westminster Boards of Health.

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Thomas A. Mackie, Esq., to Chair Environmental Business Council of New England

Thomas A. Mackie, Managing Shareholder of the Boston environmental law firm Mackie Shea, PC, has been elected Chairman of the Board of the Environmental Business Council of New England. A Board member for 13 years, Mackie has most recently served as Vice Chair of Membership on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.

On his election Mackie said “I am thrilled to serve as Chairman of the EBC, an organization that has ably served the environmental and energy business sector for over 25 years.”

Attorney Mackie is an environmental business lawyer. For more than thirty years he has provided advice to businesses and municipalities facing complex environmental issues. He handles a wide variety of environmental matters and business transactions.

Appreciation for Your Kind Words

For many years, our firm and its lawyers have been recognized for our accomplishments and skills by lawyer rating services like Martindale-Hubbell, Chambers USA-America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News and World Report-Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms, and SuperLawyers.  These recognitions are very humbling and gratifying because the ratings are based on third-party validation by independent research, client referees and peer reviews.  The rating services rank law firms and lawyers on specific qualities such as technical legal ability, professional conduct and client service.  It is rewarding for our boutique firm to be ranked in the same tier as the largest firms.  Some recognitions are totally unexpected like when John Shea was selected as Boston 2013 Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year.  We are careful not to believe our press, rest on our laurels, or wear our super hero capes in public.  We pledge to work hard with the highest ethical standards, to continue our winning tradition and to enjoy your trust and praise for years to come.

Firm Successes – Fall 2015

  • Tom Mackie and Peter Durning successfully represented MGM Redevelopment LLC in Land Court against a challenge by an abutter to MGM’s proposed Springfield Casino to the proposed dimensions of the Springfield Casino Overlay Zoning District. The City of Springfield was ably represented by City Solicitor, Ed Pikula.
  • Tom and Peter  won a case in the Massachusetts Appeals Court that affirmed their Land Court victory reinstating building permits for a $200M 35 MW biomass power plant planned for Springfield that had been wrongfully revoked by the local Zoning Board of Appeals. They also successfully opposed a Petition for Further Appellate Review of the Appeals Court decision to the Supreme Judicial Court.
  • John Shea negotiated a Consent Judgment with the Attorney General’s Office for a heavy industry client which requires an upgrade of air emission controls that will establish nationwide BACT, operational and management improvements at three facilities, and the performance of two Supplemental Environmental Projects. A substantial portion of the civil penalty is suspended and will be forgiven upon achieving compliance milestones.  The negotiations took nearly three years.
  • John and Peter prevailed in a hotly contested MassDEP wetlands adjudicatory hearing in which the municipality and a ten resident group challenged our client’s stormwater management system for a 50-lot, high-end residential development.
  • John  negotiated a settlement in an adjudicatory appeal by an environmental organization of our municipal client’s groundwater discharge permit for upgrades and increased sewage flow to its wastewater treatment facility. The settlement agreement and modified permit requires increased groundwater monitoring and evaluation of nitrogen loads, development of a nitrogen offset plan for increased concentrations in a watershed flowing to an impaired embayment, and evaluation of nitrogen pollution reduction measures, including an ocean outfall, under the Cape Cod Water Quality Management 208 Plan Update.
  • After an adjudicatory appeal by an abutter, John and Peter obtained a Final Negative Determination of Applicability for minor changes to our clients’ fully approved and constructed home on the Dartmouth coast. The Presiding Officer and the MassDEP Commissioner determined inter alia that the LID roof runoff collection and watering system will not harm wetland resources.
  • John obtained a Water Quality Certification from MassDEP and a 404 Permit from the Army Corps for a stream relocation to facilitate the revitalization of a retail shopping center, and a state-of-the-art stormwater management and new riverfront habitat. The Corps’ approval requires “time of year” construction limits to protect potential habitat of the newly-listed endangered Northern Long-Eared bat.
  • Peter assisted a residents’ group in Marblehead to develop and implement a strategy that eventually convinced a neighbor to withdraw his planning board application to construct a grandiose garage/exercise/office structure on a portion of the jointly-owned, island roundabout.