February 12, 2019
N.E.3d 1083] CIVIL ACTION commenced in the Land Court
Department on November 9, 2016. The case was heard by Karyn
F. Scheier, J.
W. Murphy, Boston, for the plaintiffs.
Merriann M. Panarella, pro se.
H. Erichsen, pro se, was present but did not argue.
Rubin, Sullivan, & Neyman, JJ.
N.E.3d 1084] This is an appeal from a judgment of the Land
Court dismissing the claims asserted by the plaintiffs,
Robert and Alison Murchison (plaintiffs), for lack of
standing to challenge the grant of a foundation permit to
Merriann M. Panarella and David H. Erichsen (defendants) for
a single-family home in Sherborn. Because we conclude the
plaintiffs could establish standing on the basis of alleged
harm resulting from the violation of a density-related bylaw,
we reverse the judgment of the Land Court and remand for
following facts are taken from the Land Court judge’s
findings of fact and rulings of law. The plaintiffs
own a single-family home in Sherborn. The defendants own a
vacant three-acre lot across the street from the plaintiffs’
property. Both lots are in Sherborn’s Residence C zoning
district. Sherborn’s bylaws impose a requirement that each
lot in this district have a minimum lot width of 250 feet.
29, 2016, Sherborn’s zoning enforcement office (ZEO) issued a
foundation permit for a single-family residence on the
defendants’ property (proposed development). On July 19,
2016, the plaintiffs filed a timely notice of appeal to the
Sherborn zoning board of appeals (board), which held a public
hearing on the matter on September 14, 2016. On October 5,
2016, the board upheld the ZEO’s issuance of the permit. The
plaintiffs then appealed the board’s ruling to the Land Court
under G. L. c. 40A, � 17.
Land Court, the plaintiffs argued among other things that the
proposed development violated the bylaws because the lot had
insufficient width. The bylaws state that "minimum lot
width" is to be "[m]easured both at front setback
line and at building line. At no point between the required
frontage and the building line shall lot width be reduced to
less than [fifty] feet, without an exception from the
Planning Board." The bylaws define "Width,
Lot" as "[a] line which is the shortest distance
from one side line of a lot to any other side line of such
lot, provided that the extension of such line diverges less
than [forty five degrees] from a line, or extension thereof,
which connects the end points of the side lot lines where
such lines intersect the street right-of-way." There is
no definition of "front setback line." The
definition of "building line" is "[a] line
which is the shortest distance from one side line of the lot
to any other side line of the lot and which passes through
any portion of the principal building and which differs by
less than [forty five degrees] from a line which connects the
end points of the side lot lines at the point at which they
intersect the street right-of-way." The plaintiffs
argued that, applying these definitions, the lot widths were
209.56 feet and 192.42 feet at the front setback line and
building line respectively, neither of which satisfied the