Outdoor displays at florist shop not a prior conforming use

The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that outdoor displays at a florist shop exceeded the scope of prior uses by the store and thus did not constitute a prior nonconforming use that could continue despite new zoning regulations requiring special permit for such uses. Leonard v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Hanover, 135 N.E.3d 288 (Mass. App. Ct. 2019). Although the court found the prior law to be confusing and badly written, it interpreted that law to prohibit outdoor displays unless specifically authorized. Because the florist shop's outdoor displays were unlawful, they could not count as prior lawful uses that could continue despite a change in the zoning law. A dissenting judge interpreted the prior law to allow the outdoor displays and would have allowed them to continue as a prior nonconforming use.
See also: Zoning