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John T. Smolak


John Smolak is a Partner and Co-Founder of Smolak & Vaughan LLP. His practice is concentrated in the areas of land use, environmental, and real estate development law. Prior to forming the firm in 2004, John was Co-Chairman of the Real Estate and Environmental Group with Burns & Levinson LLP in Boston.  John has represented property owners and developers in over seventy cities and towns in Massachusetts in all aspects of real estate development, including the licensing and permitting of land use projects such as office buildings and parks, shopping centers, institutional and educational facilities, hotels, affordable and multifamily housing developments, residential complexes, and other mixed use developments.

His practice includes obtaining approvals related to federal, state and local highway access, historic preservation, wetlands, air, water and sewer facilities, zoning, subdivision control, and other infrastructure permitting before local, state and federal permitting boards and agencies.

John also advises clients on environmental compliance with federal, state, and local laws governing hazardous materials generation, treatment, storage and disposal, air and water pollution control, underground storage tanks, occupational health and safety, toxic use and source reduction, and historic preservation.

John represents clients in the negotiation of the purchase, redevelopment, sale, and cleanup of hazardous waste "brownfields" properties in conjunction with state and federal "brownfields" initiatives.

He has extensive experience in administrative enforcement and penalty assessment actions and appeals, including defense of public and private sector clients before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and state and local environmental agencies; and appeals of federal, state and local agency actions concerning permits, approvals and licenses. He has also represented corporations in environmental and land use aspects of corporate mergers and acquisitions.

John also serves on a number of committees, task forces and legal education panels. Most recently, he served on the Zoning and Wetlands Committee of the Governor's Special Commission on Barriers to Housing Development. He also served on the Legislative Committee of the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, an ad hoc committee which developed proposed Smart Growth legislation designed to increase housing opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

John is the immediate past Chairman of the Environmental Committee for the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Homebuilders Association of Massachusetts (HBAM), and serves on the HBAM's Public Policy Committee as well as the Chapter 40B Subcommittee. John is also a member of the Boston Bar Association Environmental Law Section's Steering Committee. In addition, he has served on a number of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection task forces such as the Nutrient Loading Steering Committee, which involved a review of policies governing package wastewater treatment facilities. John has served as Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the Merrimack Valley Regional Planning Commission, and has served on local land use, economic development and planning committees in the Town of North Andover, Massachusetts. He was also a member of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Construction's, Transportation Enhancements Steering Committee. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics of Massachusetts, Inc

Areas of Expertise

Land Use Law
Real Estate Development
Affordable and Multifamily Housing

Bar Admissions

New Hampshire


    • Boston College Law School, J.D., 1990
    • Columbia University School of International and
            Public Affairs, M.P.A. Public Policy  and
            Administration, 1987
    • University of Massachusetts at Amherst B.A.,
            summa cum laude, 1985


      National Association of
      Industrial and Office
      Properties, Former Chairman,
      Environmental Committee

      Boston Bar Association
      Environmental Law Section
      Steering Committee

      Homebuilders Association of Massachusetts, Member, Board of Directors

      Massachusetts Executive
      Office of Transportation and
      Construction, Transportation
      Enhancements Steering
      Committee (Former Member)

      Northeast Builders Association of Massachusetts, Inc., Vice President and Member of Board of Directors

      Commonwealth Housing
      Task Force, Legislative Committee

      Merrimack Valley Regional
      Planning Commission, Fmr.


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        Smolak & Vaughan LLP
      East Mill
      21 High Street, Suite 301
      North Andover, Massachusetts 01845


      978.327.5219 (fax)