Karla L. Chaffee - Affordable Housing and Real Estate lawyer - Nixon Peabody LLP

Karla L. Chaffee


Karla Chaffee is counsel in the Affordable Housing and Real Estate practice group. She focuses her practice on land use permitting and litigation.

What do you focus on?

Land Use — Transactional

I provide guidance to clients seeking zoning approvals and other development entitlements. I counsel them on the impact of proposed or recently enacted land use legislation, as well as on land use trends across the country. I also serve on my local zoning board of appeals.

I perform due diligence work for real estate transactions prior to acquisition and financing. I assess environmental risk of properties and determine what mitigation measures are needed to help clients make the best business decisions and avoid potential liability. Finding appropriate mitigation measures has given me the opportunity to negotiate the terms of purchase and sale agreements, liability transfer documents, and insurance policies. I work with sellers, buyers, and lenders to ensure a successful transaction.

Land Use Litigation

I handle complex federal litigation involving the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), First Amendment, and Equal Protection Clause. I also handle environmental litigation and defend claims brought under state and federal law, such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

I am skilled at negotiating dispute settlements and achieving success for my clients in court if their case goes to trial. My successes include negotiating a favorable resolution for a national public utility company that faced environmental claims.

What do you see on the horizon?

The prevalence of online retail has changed our day-to-day lives in many ways. It has also influenced land use patterns and transformed the market for warehouse and industrial space across the country. The opportunities for development in these sectors vary significantly by region and clients will need to understand how the prevalence of e-commerce has impacted local market and regulatory conditions.

Locally, the lack of adequate housing supply in Massachusetts is at crisis levels. Recent changes to the Massachusetts Zoning Enabling Act have lowered the voting thresholds for projects and zoning amendments that encourage market-rate and affordable housing development. The MA Housing Choice initiative has given developers and housing advocates a new opportunity to work with community leaders to produce sorely needed housing stock.

Jair Lynch makes first foray into Atlanta with two multifamily acquisitions

Connect Commercial Real Estate | August 09, 2022

The following article covering Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners and Nuveen Real Estate’s recent acquisition of two multifamily communities in the Atlanta area mention NP as transaction counsel. The deal team, led by Washington, DC Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Colette Dafoe, includes AHRE partner Dara Newman Histed and Construction & Real Estate Litigation partner Le Dolan, both from the Washington, DC office. The deal team also includes Boston counsel Karla Chaffee, Washington, DC associates Jamie Flesch and Jamal Magee, Rochester senior paralegal Stephanie Navarro-Smith, all from the AHRE group, and Washington, DC Complex Disputes paralegal Caroline Taylor.

Affordable housing developer Jair Lynch kicks off Southeast expansion with purchase of two Atlanta properties

Washington Business Journal | August 08, 2022

The following article covering Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners and Nuveen Real Estate’s recent acquisition of two multifamily communities in the Atlanta area mention NP as transaction counsel. The deal team, led by Washington, DC Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Colette Dafoe, includes AHRE partner Dara Newman Histed and Construction & Real Estate Litigation partner Le Dolan, both from the Washington, DC office. The deal team also includes Boston counsel Karla Chaffee, Washington, DC associates Jamie Flesch and Jamal Magee, Rochester senior paralegal Stephanie Navarro-Smith, all from the AHRE group, and Washington, DC Complex Disputes paralegal Caroline Taylor.

SJC ruling muddies the waters for future of Massachusetts coastal development

Boston Business Journal | July 14, 2022

This article covers potential implications of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that sends Boston’s municipal harbor plan back to the drawing board. Boston Affordable Housing & Real Estate counsel Karla Chaffee is quoted in this article, explaining how the Department of Environmental Protection still needs to work out how to handle future harbor plans, noting that it could leave current plans in a state of limbo until the DEP releases related regulations.

Hebrew SeniorLife receives financing for expansion of affordable community near Boston

Seniors Housing Business | March 03, 2022

This article on client Hebrew SeniorLife closing financing to build 45 new units of affordable senior housing in metro Boston mentions NP for advising on the project. Boston Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Jeff Sacks led the NP team, which also included Community Development Finance partner Forrest Milder, and AHRE senior counsel Don Cooper, counsel Karla Chaffee, associate Ali Sisson, and paralegal Vienna Kim, all of the Boston office.

Real estate lawyers on the move

Law360 | January 19, 2022

This column on notable industry moves features the arrival of Chaundi Randolph in Washington, DC, Karla Chaffee in Boston, and Daniel Perlin in Chicago as counsel in NP’s Affordable Housing & Real Estate practice

People on the move

Affordable Housing Finance | December 15, 2021

This column on notable industry moves features the arrival of Chaundi Randolph in Washington, DC, Karla Chaffee in Boston, and Daniel Perlin in Chicago as counsel in NP’s Affordable Housing & Real Estate practice. The article also includes a brief description of each attorney’s practice.

People in the news

McKnights Senior Living | December 14, 2021

The following roundup article on notable industry moves feature the arrival of Chaundi Randolph in Washington, DC, Karla Chaffee in Boston, and Daniel Perlin in Chicago as counsel in NP’s Affordable Housing & Real Estate practice. The article also features a brief description on each of their practices.

People

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin | December 13, 2021

The following roundup article on notable industry moves feature the arrival of Chaundi Randolph in Washington, DC, Karla Chaffee in Boston, and Daniel Perlin in Chicago as counsel in NP’s Affordable Housing & Real Estate practice. The article also features a brief description on each of their practices.

Nixon Peabody adds three more lawyers to Affordable Housing, Real Estate bench

The American Lawyer | December 09, 2021

This article features the arrival of Chaundi Randolph in Washington, DC, Karla Chaffee in Boston, and Daniel Perlin in Chicago as counsel in NP’s Affordable Housing & Real Estate practice. The article also quotes AHRE practice group leader Denise Pursley on recent growth across the practice and the increased demand for legal services.

Contact

Karla L. Chaffee

Counsel

Boston

Phone: 617-345-6146


Fax: 833- 655-1825

Vermont Law School, J.D., summa cum laude

University of Massachusetts, B.S., summa cum laude

Massachusetts

U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

  • Rising Star in Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the area of Land Use, 2016–2019
  • Chair, ABA, Land Use and Zoning Committee
  • Treasurer, Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association
Assisted several clients to receive asylum in the United States, including derivative asylum for a client’s young family.
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