Diane C. Tillotson


  • d 617-557-9725
  • 60 State Street
  • Boston, MA 02109

Practice Focus

Diane C. Tillotson's practice covers a broad  range of land use litigation and permitting matters, including zoning and environmental litigation, boundary and easement disputes, contested land court registration cases, land damage cases and tax abatement and exemption issues.  Ms. Tillotson has represented clients before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court, Land Court, Superior Court, Federal District Court, Appellate Tax Board, state District Courts, Boston Housing Court, and the Boston Municipal Court and frequently appears before local planning boards, zoning boards of appeal, and conservation commissions.  She advises property owners and educational, religious and other institutions in obtaining permits from municipal and state agencies and has served as special counsel to several Massachusetts cities and towns.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained summary judgement for a non-profit 40B developer on the grounds that plaintiffs lacked standing to sue and successfully defended the case in the Massachusetts Appeals Court
  • Represented the owner of a beachfront lot in successfully defending adverse possession and implied easement claims and established ownership to the low tide mark and defended the judgement in the Massachusetts Appeals Court
  • Successfully challenged a Town of Hadley rate of development zoning bylaw and defended the decision in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Defended the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority in two eminent domain cases involving multiple week jury trials
  • Represented the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in a case interpreting the First Amendment and establishing clear limits for court involvement in disputes involving hierarchical churches
  • Successfully navigated a Newton synagogue through the permitting process involving application of the Dover Amendment and RLUIPA protections
  • Represent members of the aggregate industry before local authorities in connection with permitting and zoning issues inherent in sand and gravel operations

Activities and Publications

  • Frequent presenter for MCLE, Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations, Massachusetts City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association, Real Estate Bar Association, Suffolk University Law School Advanced Legal Studies, Flaschner Judicial Institute
  • Guest Lecturer, Legal Issues in Land Use Planning, MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning
  • Panelist for program on Oral Advocacy in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Massachusetts Appeals Court, Social Law Library, February, 2008
  • Chair of the MCLE program on Litigating Real Estate Disputes, 2008, 2009
  • Land Court Committee to revise Guidelines for Surveyors/Engineers, 2002-2006
  • Author of numerous articles on land use, zoning and other aspects of real estate law including "Landowner Challenges of Zoning Ordinances and By-Laws," published in Massachusetts Zoning Manual (MCLE) (1983, updated 1989, 1992, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2006)

Community Involvement

  • Board of Directors, Newton Community Service Center, Inc. (Chair, 2007-2009)
  • Member, Suffolk University Law School Dean's Advisory Committee
  • Active member of Union Church in Waban. She has served as a deacon, moderator and chair of numerous committees
  • Newton - San Juan del Sur Nicaragua Sister City Project. Worked on raising funds for installing potable water delivery systems in three small communities in Nicaragua and construction of a small factory to produce bio-sand filters
Diane C. Tillotson Partner