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Municipal Law

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Municipal representation has been a vital part of the law practice at Wadleigh, Starr & Peters for over one hundred years.   Members of the Firm represent municipalities, individuals, businesses, and associations in all areas of municipal law.  When a client matter crosses disciplines, the team has the ability to draw upon a wide range of attorney resources in the area of commercial transactions, real estate conveyances, land-use, or any other practice area of the firm.

We provide a wide variety of services to a number of municipalities and school districts in New Hampshire, ranging from providing general legal advice to representation in complex litigation. Our services have included general advice to municipal governing boards, the drafting of municipal ordinances, special education advice and representation, zoning and land use support and litigation, representation in civil rights and other litigation, employment and personnel matters, cable franchise negotiation and support in many other areas of the law affecting towns and school districts.

Our Municipal law attorneys are admitted to practice in the State of New Hampshire, the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court, and they have successfully represented clients before all of these courts. Our attorneys seek to assist clients in reducing risk by favorably resolving problems at the earliest possible stage.

The Firm has a rich history of providing high quality legal services to municipalities.  In an age of reduced attorney-client loyalty, we have specialized in developing long-term relationships with our municipal clients.  For example, the Firm has represented the Town of Auburn for over 40 years and the Town of Chester for 15 years.  These long-term relationships allow us to understand the institutional history of the client, which in turn has allowed us to provide legal services at a reasonable cost.

Our Municipal law attorneys have experience drafting municipal policies and regulations, land use ordinances, interim growth management ordinances, growth management ordinances, application forms, subdivision regulations, site plan regulations, telecommunications ordinances, excavation regulations, junk yard applications, septage/sludge regulation, driveway permit applications, local codes, board rules, and board policies.  Our legal counsel has included guiding boards through the notice and warrant requirements pertaining to ordinance adoption and the amendment of land use regulations.  In twenty-seven years, there have not been any successful challenges to the zoning provisions drafted by our municipal law attorneys.

We also provide counsel to land use boards and building inspectors/code enforcement officers regarding both substance and procedure.  This includes rendering advisory opinions on the interpretation of state land use statutes, zoning ordinances and the applicable local regulations and building codes.

Our land use litigation experience encompasses both zoning enforcement and appeals from the decisions of a Town’s land use boards.  Our attorneys have tried many land use cases to favorable verdicts, including cases involving gravel pit applications, illegal construction, maintenance of an unlawful business, illegal spreading of sludge, construction of a road without a permit, unlawful airstrips, site plan applications and approval, zoning issues, and issues pertaining to cell phone towers.

Our Municipal attorneys have also successfully obtained injunctive relief on behalf of our municipal clients, in areas pertaining to building condemnation; zoning violations; livestock cases; violation of conditions of approval; illegal junk yards; and unlawful construction.

We also frequently advise municipalities on issues pertaining to the right-to-know law, including access to governmental records, and non-public sessions.  They also advise municipal governing bodies on the drafting of municipal ballots and the conduct and procedure at annual and special town meetings.

Members of the firm also have extensive experience in real estate development of all sizes.