Bulkley Richardson Successfully Appeals Decision Denying Special Permit to INSA

Bulkley Richardson successfully appealed the Springfield City Council’s decision denying the application for a special permit to operate an adult use marijuana retail facility at 1200 West Columbus Avenue in Springfield, MA submitted by the firms client, INSA, Inc.

INSA applied to the City Council for the special permit and was denied by a three to eight vote (with two City Councilors unavailable to vote), which precluded INSA from opening and operating its proposed marijuana retail facility at the site.

INSA filed suit, appealing the decision to the Superior Court and arguing that the that the City Council’s actions in denying the special permit were arbitrary and capricious. The City Council, represented by the City Solicitor’s Office, vigorously defended the City Council’s denial.

Upon cross motions for judgment, the Court held that the City Council’s denial of INSA’s application was “based on a legally untenable ground, (and) was unreasonable, whimsical, capricious or arbitrary” and that “there was no basis in the record upon which the City Council could have made findings in support of denying INSA’s special permit application.”

The Court then found it would be futile to send the issue back to the City Council for further consideration, because “[w]ithout any rational basis in the record for denying the special permit application, its issuance is inevitable.”

Therefore, the Superior Court vacated the City Council’s decision and ordered the City Council to approve the special permit application within ten days.

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