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Land Use Law Appellate Court Opinion

by Zigadto, Janet


AC43052 - MSW Associates, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Dept. ("This zoning appeal concerns the conflict that sometimes arises between the state's authority to regulate solid waste management and a municipality's right to regulate the structures and land use within its borders. The plaintiff, MSW Associates, LLC, filed a site plan application (site plan) to construct and operate a solid waste transfer station and volume reduction plant in Danbury (city) that was denied by the defendant, the Planning and Zoning Department of the City of Danbury. The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court pursuant to General Statutes § 8-8. The Superior Court sustained the plaintiff's appeal. Thereafter, this court granted the defendant's petition for certification to appeal.

On appeal before us, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by (1) construing General Statutes § 22a-208b (b) to require it to approve the site plan even though the use is prohibited in the IG-80 zone in which it was proposed and when the city's zoning regulations (regulations) permit other types of solid waste facilities at other locations in the city, (2) ruling that the regulations 'have the effect of prohibiting the construction, alteration or operation of solid waste facilities within the limits' of the city and thus violate § 22a-208b (b), (3) refusing to invoke the doctrine of primary jurisdiction to remand the case to the city's zoning commission, and (4) disregarding the language of § 22a-208b (b) that '[n]othing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the right of a municipality to regulate, through zoning, land usage for an existing or new solid waste facility,' and by ordering it to approve the site plan in a particular location and zone, thereby usurping the legislative authority of the zoning commission. The defendant also claims that the plaintiff lacks standing to claim a violation of § 22a-208b (b) on the basis of allegations that the regulations fail to allow solid waste facilities other than the specific subtype of facility that it seeks to construct on its property. We agree with the court that the plain language of § 22a-208b (b) bars zoning regulations from having the effect, as the city's do, of prohibiting construction of solid waste facilities of any type within its borders. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")