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Land Use Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Zigadto, Janet


SC20061 - Griswold v. Camputaro (Zoning; "This certified appeal arises from a consolidated zoning appeal and enforcement action relating to a manufacturing facility located in Jewett City, which had been subject to a long-standing stipulated judgment imposing various restrictions on its operation since 1997 (1997 stipulated judgment). After a short calendar hearing held on November 16, 2015, the trial court opened and modified the 1997 stipulated judgment by agreement of the parties. The issue on appeal concerns the fact that the public had been informed that the parties' joint motion to open and modify the judgment would not be heard until one week later, at a short calendar hearing scheduled to occur on November 23, 2015. A landowner who resides near the manufacturing facility, Kathryn B. Londé, appeared at the publicly noticed short calendar hearing on November 23, 2015, intending to a file a motion to intervene pursuant to General Statutes § 22a-19 for the purpose of raising claims of environmental harm, only to learn that the hearing had occurred one week earlier and that the 1997 stipulated judgment already had been modified. Londé nonetheless filed her motion to intervene. On December 9, 2015, another proposed intervenor, Jeffrey Ryan, also filed a motion to intervene pursuant to § 22a-19, alleging environmental harm. The trial court denied the motions to intervene as untimely.

Londé and Ryan (proposed intervenors) appealed to the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court. Griswold v. Camputaro, 177 Conn. App. 779, 802, 173 A.3d 959 (2017). The Appellate Court concluded that the trial court's expedited consideration of the parties' joint motion to open and modify the 1997 stipulated judgment 'violated our rules of practice,' 'violated the [proposed] intervenors' right to timely, accurate notice,' and denied the proposed intervenors 'their statutory right[s] to intervene pursuant to § 22a-19 (a)' and to 'participate in the hearing on the stipulated settlement' pursuant to General Statutes § 8-8 (n). (Emphasis in original.) Id., 796, 799. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")