Spillane Stops Move to Regulate Building Projects
An attempt to increase local control over nonprofit school and college building projects has been stopped, thanks to the efforts of MANS&C Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane.
The wording, inserted into a House budget amendment, would have imposed a site plan review when Massachusetts nonprofit schools and colleges wanted to build recreational facilities. Currently, site plan reviews are not required for any building projects by nonprofit institutions. Communities may require only “reasonable regulations concerning the bulk and height of structures and determining yard sizes, lot area, setbacks, open space, parking and building coverage requirements.”
Spillane has been keeping a watchful eye on the House budget process and alerted legislative leaders to the negative consequences site plan reviews would have on MANS&C members. As a result, the wording was removed from the amendment.
MANS&C Scores Again
Spillane will continue to monitor the budget process when the Senate takes up its budget in May.
on Beacon Hill
A bill that would have restricted the right of Massachusetts nonprofit schools, colleges, and universities to build or renovate campus structures is no longer in play on Beacon Hill, thanks to the efforts of MANS&C Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane.
Senate Bill 92 would have shattered the state’s Dover Amendment, which severely limits the power of local planning boards to derail building permit applications from nonprofit educational institutions. The bill would have expanded the boards’ reach and also enabled communities to institute a site plan review for these projects.
The measure was one of several bills of concern that were sent to study and are effectively dead for the remainder of the current legislative session, Spillane reported.
A number of other bills would have extensively taxed nonprofit schools and colleges. Two took aim at the state’s largest nonprofit colleges, universities and public charities. House Bill 3526 threatened to impose property taxes on institutions whose top five highest-compensated officers, directors, trustees, employees, independent contractors or others earn more than $2.5 million a year.
House Bill 1617 would have placed a 1 percent excise tax on schools and colleges that have endowments of $1 billion or more.
Although these bills targeted larger schools, MANS&C believes that if they had passed, smaller schools and colleges might be next.
Other bills that were turned back:
- Authorized local communities to impose property taxes on all nonprofit schools and colleges equal to 25 percent of what they would have paid if they were not tax exempt (House Bill 1565)
- Gave communities the right of first refusal as part of a lengthy process when a nonprofit wants to convert tax-exempt property to residential, commercial or industrial use (House Bill 2594)
- Enabled cities and towns to require Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) from local nonprofit schools and colleges (House Bill 1639)
Working in collaboration with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM), Spillane was able to have all of these bills sent to study.
Spillane will be closely watching the upcoming budget deliberations in case these bills reappear as last-minute amendments.
What did three schools do recently when their local community asked them to make payments in lieu of taxes?
They called an ally -- MANS&C!
The MANS&C Board and Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane are always ready to provide advice and counsel to members grappling with community issues. We can tell you what other schools and colleges have done and help you set up a plan of action.
You can reach us at email@example.com.
MANS&C is starting a Member News column for our website and newsletter that will highlight the ways our members benefit their communities. Do your students volunteer or hold a fundraiser for a local charity? Has your school or college donated equipment to a town department? Do you offer your facilities to the community at a free or reduced rate? Let us know!
Or, if your institution has other news (no sports, please) that you’d like to share with your fellow MANS&C members, we’d like to hear that, too.