Judicial District of New Britain


     Zoning; Improvements to Existing Public Highways; Whether Planning & Zoning Commission's Regulation Requiring Sidewalk Improvements to Subdivision Side of Existing Public Road is Authorized by General Statutes § 8-25.  The plaintiff submitted an application to the defendant planning and zoning commission to build a five lot residential subdivision along Lane Hill Road in Plymouth.  Section 5.04 of the commission's regulations requires that sidewalks be installed on both sides of subdivision streets.  Additionally, it provides that "[w]here a subdivision abuts an existing street, a sidewalk shall be installed on the subdivision side of such street for the entire frontage of the subdivision."  The commission denied the application "for failure to show sidewalks on project site per . . . Section 5.04 Sidewalks, and concern for health, safety and welfare of future residents."  The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court, contending that the commission was not authorized under General Statutes § 8-25 to require it to construct sidewalks along an existing street.  Section 8-25, which pertains to the subdivision of land by municipal planning commissions, provides in pertinent part that the "regulations [adopted by a commission] shall provide that the land to be subdivided shall be of such character that it can be used for building purposes without danger to health or the public safety . . . and that the proposed streets are in harmony with existing or proposed principal thoroughfares . . . especially in regard to safe intersections with such thoroughfares. . . ."  In addition, § 8-25 provides that "[t]he commission may also prescribe the extent to which and the manner in which streets shall be graded and improved and public utilities and services provided. . . . "  Concluding that Section 5.04 of the regulations was valid because it was "reasonably related to the functions of the commission, as set forth in General Statutes § 8-25, to adopt regulations to insure the health and safety of the public," the court dismissed the appeal.  In so concluding, the court noted that Lane Hill Road was a narrow, winding road in poor condition and that this factor properly could be taken into account by the commission in requiring the installation of sidewalks.  On appeal, the plaintiff argues that the subdivision regulation requiring improvements to existing public highways is not authorized by § 8-25 in the absence of an intersection of a proposed subdivision road with such a highway.  It also contends that the statute does not grant authority to the commission to regulate general health and safety, but, instead, it provides specific grants of authority to regulate health and welfare with respect to the land to be subdivided and the proposed streets within the subdivision.