MISC 15-000275

November 4, 2016

Barnstable, ss.



In this action, Plaintiff Town of Orleans asked the court to alter the location of the municipal boundary line between Orleans and the Town of Eastham. Plaintiff alleged the original town boundary line, as established by the Massachusetts Legislature, has been affected by coastal erosion and accretion. Invoking the provisions of G. L. c. 42, ยงยง 1 and 12, Orleans urged this court to relocate the boundary line in response to the shore line changes. Defendant Town of Eastham argued the town boundary is a fixed straight line which was legislatively established, has remained in place for more than 200 years, and is not affected by coastal erosion or accretion. Accordingly, it argued, G. L. c. 42 does not confer the authority on the Land Court to change the municipal boundary and requested the court declare the boundary line between the towns remains unchanged.

The court heard cross-motions for summary judgment on June 29, 2016, and a decision in favor of the Town of Eastham of even date herewith has issued. In accordance with that decision, it hereby is

ADJUDGED and DECLARED under the circumstances presented in this case, the Land Court does not have authority under G, L. c. 42 to change the boundary line between Orleans and Eastham because the boundary line is not doubtful or in dispute within the meaning of G. L. c. 42; and it is further

ADJUDGED and DECLARED the municipal boundary line remains a fixed, straight line, as originally established by the Massachusetts General Court in Chapter 64 of the Acts of 1796, when the "South Parish" of Eastham was set off and incorporated as the separate Town of Orleans, as further refined and determined by the General Court and as shown on the 1907 Atlas of the Boundaries of Towns of Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket Counties.

So ordered.