Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP offers legal advice from attorneys with national, state, and local expertise in environmental and land use law. Our attorneys previously held senior positions in federal or state government and also have extensive experience working with commercial and nonprofit developers, businesses, and government entities. We offer discounted government and nonprofit rates.

Our environmental and land use practice is focused on renewable energy, hazardous waste cleanup and cost recovery, brownfields redevelopment, environmental impact reviews, smart growth and zoning, and wetlands and endangered species permitting. We give clients commonsense advice based on our legal experience as government regulators and private advocates and our business experience in planning and construction.

We work on major projects and policy initiatives as well as on small projects and quick scopings. We draft legislation and regulations and facilitate public-private partnerships. Our projects involve multiple parties, and some are played out in public and in the press.

We combine legal advice with a real-world understanding of project challenges. We bring the parties together and forge alliances, finding ways to build partnerships and get projects done.

Selected Experience

Renewable Energy:

• Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP serves as environmental counsel for the first major land-based wind farm in Massachusetts, advising on environmental impact review, wetlands, endangered species, and DPU issues.
• We negotiated an agreement at our client’s brownfields site for installation of a 1.8 MW solar facility with 6,500 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. The agreement included a solar access easement and requirements to comply with environmental use restrictions.
• Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP is advising an investor and developer regarding liability concerns for development of solar facilities on brownfields sites and landfills.
• As MEPA director, Jay Wickersham oversaw development of EIS/EIR scope for the Cape Wind project. He has written and lectured widely on the legal and policy issues related to wind power facilities.
• We are environmental permitting counsel to Holyoke Gas & Electric on several matters, including permitting of a proposed wind farm on Mount Tom. Bennet Heart has counseled on zoning, wetlands, rare species and conservation restriction matters in connection with the proposed wind farm.


Hazardous Waste Site Cleanups and Brownfields Development:

• As outside environmental counsel to the MBTA for CERCLA and 21E hazardous waste sites. Julie Taylor advises the MBTA on strategic and legal issues related to hazardous, and negotiates on its behalf with U.S. EPA and DOJ, MA DEP, and other parties.
• As outside counsel to the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, Barbara Landau counsels PEDA on the redevelopment of the former General Electric Company site, including compliance assistance with environmental land use restrictions, environmental regulations, and permitting, advice on potential liability, and assistance with real estate transactions and redevelopment.
• We have assisted numerous businesses and private and nonprofit developers with cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated property, including environmental compliance assistance, settling with prior owners on liability and financial responsibility, obtaining future liability protections and public financial assistance, procuring environmental insurance, and recovering claims under insurance policies and indemnification agreements.
• We represent parties in MGL c. 21E private cost recovery disputes, and help clients find cost-effective resolutions through negotiation or mediation.

Environmental Impact Review:

• We served as outside environmental counsel to the MBTA for the environmental review and permitting of a proposed new rapid transit line under downtown Boston, advised on NEPA and MEPA review, open space, historic resource, and environmental justice concerns.
• Julie Taylor was engaged as a special consultant to the Vermont Public Service Board on environmental and aesthetic impacts under Vermont’s Act 250 of a 75-mile electric transmission line, participated in multiple hearings, and drafted its decision on those issues. The Board’s decision was upheld on appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court.
• As state MEPA director between 1998 and 2002, Jay Wickersham oversaw environmental impact reviews of major public and private projects, including the Central Artery / Tunnel project; Logan Airport expansion; and development of the South Boston waterfront.


Smart Growth / Zoning / Affordable Housing:

• We developed new regulations and a model zoning bylaw for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for the new smart growth law, Chapter 40R, providing incentives for high-density local zoning overlay districts near transit stations and in other appropriate locations.
• For the City of Somerville we developed new zoning for the Union Square district that provides incentives for high-density housing and mixed-use development and arts-related uses.
• On behalf of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance and the Boston Society of Architects, Jay Wickersham has served on the state’s Zoning Reform Task Force from 2008 to the present. He was a principal drafter of the Comprehensive Land Use Reform and Partnership Act currently before the legislature.
• For DHCD, we drafted the first comprehensive overhaul of the state’s regulations for affordable housing development under Chapter 40B. We then worked with an inclusive task force to develop regulations under the new affordable housing preservation act, Chapter 40T.


Wetlands / Tidelands / Endangered Species Permitting:

• Jay Wickersham co-chaired the State’s Task Force on Waterfront Development that streamlined Massachusetts Chapter 91 regulations and shifted policy from individual project reviews to the approval of Municipal Harbor Plan (MHPs). He then led the state review and conditional approval of Boston’s MHP for the South Boston waterfront, including the Fan Pier and Pier 4 developments.
• We regularly assist property owners in addressing wetlands issues, planning access and development in compliance with wetlands regulations, obtaining local Orders of Conditions and Army Corps permits.
• We successfully represented the Pittsfield Airport in an administration appeal of its approved Water Quality permit.
Historic Preservation:
• We served as legal counsel and leader of a multi-disciplinary team that developed a new redevelopment strategy for the Ames Shovel Works in North Easton, MA. Our efforts led to listing of the Shovel Works as one of the 11 most endangered sites in the country by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and to town-wide support for preservation of the site for mixed-income housing.

 

Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP Environmental and Land Use Lawyers:

Jay Wickersham, FAIA, has worked in all areas of conservation and development, as Assistant Secretary of Environmental Affairs for Massachusetts, as a private lawyer, and as an architect and land use planner. Jay holds law and architecture degrees from Harvard, and teaches and writes on environmental law. (Click here for full bio).

Bennet Heart joined Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP in 2007 after serving as General Counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Bennet, a graduate of George Washington University Law School, brings broad experience in environmental and land use law to his practice. (Click here for full bio).

Julie Taylor worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency and was in-house counsel for a major national construction company. She served on the Act 250 environmental commission for the Burlington, VT area. She practiced with a Boston law firm after graduation from Harvard Law School. (Click here for full bio).

Barbara Landau has worked for the MA Department of Environmental Protection, a brownfields real estate company and in private law practice. She holds a law degree from Northeastern University and a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University. (Click here for full bio).

Catherine Redmond is an experienced environmental attorney who joined Noble, Wickersham & Heart in 2015. She came to the firm after having served for over ten years as in-house counsel for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, one of California’s largest environmental agencies. (Click here for full bio)

 

Contact Information: 
General:  617-491-9800
Fax:  617-491-9818
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Jay Wickersham | 617-491-9815 | jw@noblewickersham.com
Bennet Heart | 617-491-9820 | bh@noblewickersham.com
Julie Taylor | 617-491-9816 | jt@noblewickersham.com
Barbara Landau | 617-491-9822 | bl@noblewickersham.com
Catherine Redmond | 617-491-9821 | cr@noblewickersham.com

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Julie Taylor and Barbara Landau, “Green Buildings on Brownfields,” Smart Growth and Green Buildings Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 2 (American Bar Association, March 2011).

Jay Wickersham, “Creative Zoning” (with Jack Wiggin and Glenn Garber), in Preserving and Enhancing Communities, Elizabeth Hamin, ed. (Amherst: UMass Press, 2007).

Jay Wickersham, “The Laws of Sprawl and the Laws of Smart Growth,” in Urban Sprawl: A Comprehensive Reference Guide, David Soule, ed. (Greenwood Press, 2006).

Jay Wickersham, “Sacred Landscapes and Profane Structures: How Offshore Windpower Challenges the Environmental Impact Review Process,” Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review (2004). PDF

Jay Wickersham, “EIR and Smart Growth,” Urban Land (May 2003). PDF

Bennet Heart, Community Rules: A New England Guide to Smart Growth Strategies, with E. Humstone et al. (Conservation Law Foundation, 2002).

Jay Wickersham, “Jane Jacobs’s Critique of Zoning: From Euclid to Portland and Beyond,” Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review (2001). PDF

Jay Wickersham, The State of Our Environment (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, 2000).