Gareth Orsmond focuses his practice on commercial real estate, land use, environmental, and energy matters in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

His practice encompasses transactional work, permitting, and litigation. Gareth started his career as an environmental and land use lawyer, and over time, has built a commercial transactional practice. This background enables him to negotiate and implement complex real estate deals while understanding and resolving challenging environmental and land use issues.

Gareth played a leading role in impactful developments in metro Boston, including University Station in Westwood, the St. Regis Residences in Boston, and the Skating Club of Boston’s state-of-the-art Olympic training center in Norwood.

Gareth’s extensive experience in environmental, land use, and governmental matters includes his work with the Cape Cod Commission, the Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund, and nonprofit organizations and municipalities, including Westwood, Somerville, Salem, and Medway, Mass., and Somersworth, New Hampshire. He has particular expertise in the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act, known as Chapter 91.

In the energy sector, Gareth represents one of four electric utility providers in New Hampshire, which operates Massachusetts facilities as well. He also represents landowners and developers in renewable energy projects, including solar arrays and battery energy storage systems.

As an educator, Gareth taught the land use seminar and clinic at New England Law|Boston for 10 years. He also teaches continuing legal education seminars and authors publications.

Gareth earned a master's in jazz studies, with honors, from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has performed in many venues, including Boston’s historic Jordan Hall, the Village Vanguard in New York, and Ronnie Scott's in London.

Honors & Distinctions
  • Go-To Commercial Real Estate Lawyer, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (2021)
Professional Activities
  • Adjunct professor, Land Use Law and Land Use Clinic, New England Law|Boston  (2012-2022)
  • Lecturer, Commercial Real Estate Basics, Zoning and Subdivision, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (2006-2022)
  • “Enforcement of Zoning Requirements,” The Massachusetts Zoning Manual (MCLE 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2024)
  • Common & Complex Waterfront Property Issues (MCLE 2008, 2011, 2014)
Civic Activities
  • Board of Directors, Secretary, Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS), Manchester, NH, and Worcester, MA (2021-present)
  • Treasurer, Yale Club of New Hampshire (2015-present); Board of Directors (2015-2023)
  • Leadership New Hampshire, Class of 2018
  • Board of Trustees, Concord Community Music School (2016-2018)

Practice Areas

Representative Experience


  • Counsel for Cronin Development LLC on The St. Regis Residences, a $260±-million mixed-use project in Boston’s Innovation District, which features a 22-story building and substantial public benefits, including funding for 46 units of affordable senior housing and Thompson Island Outward Bound, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental education and youth empowerment.

Mixed Use

  • Special town counsel for the Town of Westwood, Mass., on several matters, including: (i) University Station, a 2.1 million-square-foot multiphase mixed-use project that turned a 130±-acre moribund industrial park into a vibrant development; and (ii) the redevelopment of Islington center, which required a multiphase land disposition agreement governing several land swaps.

Sports Facilities

  • Counsel for The Skating Club of Boston in its development of a three-rink, 179,000-square foot state-of-the-art training and performance center in Norwood, Mass., including an Olympic-sized arena and training facilities designed in partnership with The Micheli Center For Sports Injury Prevention. The Skating Club will be a host for the 2025 world figure skating championships.


  • Counsel for the developer of a state-of-the-art self-storage facility with co-working space in Quincy, Mass., which required creating a new parcel out of an expansive parking lot, extending a public way, abandoning municipal easements, and amending and obtaining permits.
  • Counsel for a REIT purchasing a 208,169±-square foot industrial warehouse-style building on a 26±-acre riparian parcel in a large industrial park in Hudson, New Hampshire, permitting a 100,000±-square foot addition, and refinancing multi-facility industrial portfolios.

Public Trust Doctrine/Waterways

  • Obtained Land Court and Suffolk Superior Court judgments holding that the Mystic River Wharfing Acts from the 1800s extinguished the public interest in tidelands improved with two turn-of-the century warehouse buildings, resulting in an exclusion from Chapter 91 jurisdiction.


  • Represented hospitality purveyors in several transactions, including the purchase of a 14-building, 129-room extended stay hotel in Merrimack, New Hampshire, a 65-room extended stay hotel in Marlborough, Mass., and a 95-room extended-stay hotel in Tewksbury, Mass.

Affordable Housing

  • Counsel for a developer purchasing apartments in Quincy, Mass., and converting the apartments to affordable and workforce housing using low-income housing tax credits and subsidies, including a $2.5 million no-interest loan from an affordable housing trust fund.
  • Led permitting efforts for several affordable housing developments, including efforts to convert existing extended stay hotels to very low-income housing.
Representative Experience

Environmental Policy and Planning

  • Long-time counsel to the Cape Cod Commission; advises the Commission on conflicts of interest, open meeting law requirements, public records law, and land use and environmental matters generally.

Hazardous Waste Cleanup

  • Lead counsel for the city of Somerville’s remediation of contamination at Conway Park due to historical industrial uses. Led negotiations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency culminating in an innovative work share arrangement to clean up the site.
  • Lead counsel for the city of Salem’s remediation of contamination at Mansell Field, Gallows Hill Park, attributable to turn-of-the-century tannery businesses, again negotiating a work share arrangement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Counsel for the city of Somersworth, New Hampshire, for its municipal landfill Superfund site.
  • Represented the trustee of a government-appointed custodial trust of land within the Industriplex Superfund Site in Woburn, Mass., in the discharge of its fiduciary duties under a consent decree and other agreements.

Environmental Damage/Public Interest

  • Represented the city of Somerville in its dispute over the environmental, health and quality of life impacts of a large resort casino proposed in close proximity to Assembly Square and City Hall; successfully challenged the casino's waterways license through an administrative appeal that, among other thing, led to a condition requiring water transportation to mitigate traffic impacts.

Conservation/Water Quality Remediation

  • Real estate counsel for the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success in negotiations to secure farmland for its Fresh Starts farm-to-table program and use a portion of its farmland for a solar array serving low-income residents.
  • Represented the owner of Jewell Hill, a 296-acre tract of farmland and forestland spanning Fitchburg, Ashby, and Ashburnham in a bargain sale to The Trustees of Reservation for conservation purposes while reserving a term estate and addressing environmental matters.
  • Represented the YMCA Southcoast in amending a conservation restriction to permit the use of property in Dartmouth, Mass., for its “Sharing the Harvest” community farm.
  • Represented the Westwood Land Trust in its first-ever purchase of development rights in a 33.4-acre parcel of land near Hale Reservation for conservation purposes.
  • Counsel for the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protect Fund Management Board; prepared bylaws and regulations for a new subsidy program for water pollution abatement projects in conjunction with the Clean Water Trust and the Massachusetts State Revolving Fund.
Representative Experience

Energy Storage Projects

  • Represents one of New Hampshire’s four energy providers in various transactions and environmental matters in both New Hampshire and Mass.
  • Represents clean energy companies in developing battery storage facilities in the Boston metro area and southeastern Mass.
  • Represents the city of Somersworth, New Hampshire, in efforts to install a solar array over a municipal landfill and Superfund site.
  • Performed due diligence for one of the largest power generation companies in the U.S. in connection with its bid to obtain several power plants in New England.
Representative Experience
  • Haugh v. Housing Appeals Comm., et al., Civil Action No. 1882CV01167 (Norfolk Sup. Ct. 2019), and Warren Place LLC v. City of Quincy Zoning Bd. of Appeals, Docket No. 2017-0 (Housing Appeals Comm. 2018) (overturning the denial of a comprehensive permit under M.G.L. c. 40B and upholding the Housing Appeals Committee decision)
  • Donato Pizutti, as Trustee of CCC Realty Trust, v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Civil Action No. 1784CV00261 (Suffolk Sup. Ct. 2017), and Land Court Case No. 16-SBQ-01874-11-001 (2017) (declaring the public trust doctrine and M.G.L. c. 91 inapplicable to certain tidelands)
  • Matter of Wynn MA, LLC, Docket No. 2016-004 (Mass. Dep’t of Environmental Protection 2016) (resulting in changes to a major waterways license on appeal)
  • Palitz v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Tisbury, 470 Mass. 795 (2015) (amicus) (limiting the extension of lawfully pre-existing nonconforming uses)
  • Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Inc. v. Energy Facilities Siting Board, 457 Mass. 663 (2010) (clarifying the relationship between energy regulation and the Cape Cod Commission Act)
  • Arno v. Commonwealth, 457 Mass. 434 (2010) (establishing new law on the public trust doctrine and title to registered land)
  • Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Canton v. Housing Appeals Committee, 451 Mass. 158 (2008) (upholding comprehensive permit regulations)
  • Allen Homestead Development, LLC v. Town of Sturbridge Cons. Commission, 20 Mass. L. Rapt. 564 (2006) (overturning a denial under a local wetlands protection ordinance)
  • Zuckerman v. Town of Hadley, 442 Mass. 511 (2004) (amicus) (overturning a zoning bylaw establishing annual limits on building permits)