Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


this thesis examines whether the current shoreline setback scheme provided for under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act may be deemed unconstitutional under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution in light of recent holdings of the U.S. Supreme Court. In so doing, the thesis addresses what latitude regulators in Massachusetts may have under the merging case law. Because this area of law -- regulatory takings -- is still evolving, it was necessary to look at the evolution of the law in the U.S. Supreme Court and the Massachusetts appellate level courts. Research reveals that regulatory takings is a particularly perplexing area of law, decided primarily on an ad hoc basis. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that regulators can expect a higher level of judicial scrutiny on the means by which they choose to advance state's interest, the limitations they impose, the exactions they require, and the economic impacts they cause property owners to bear. Consequently, the shoreline setbacks in question, in certain instances, may not withstand constitutional challenges.