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Land Dedicated As A Public Park Is Protected Under Article 97

With a shortage of vacant land available for construction of new school buildings, municipalities are frequently pressured to convert parkland to school uses. More often than not, such conversions implicate Article 97.

Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution “provides that land and easements taken or acquired for conservation purposes shall not be used for other purposes or otherwise disposed of without the approval of a two-thirds roll call vote of each branch of the legislature.” Based on the foregoing, Massachusetts courts have consistently ruled that land is protected under Article 97 only when the land is specially designated for Article 97 purposes by a recorded instrument.

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