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Land Use Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Agati, Taryn


SC20579 - International Investors v. Town Plan & Zoning Commission ("This certified appeal concerns whether a local zoning authority may, by regulation, condition the continuing validity of a special permit on completing development in connection with the permitted use within a specified period of time. The defendant Fairfield Commons, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which (1) affirmed the trial court's judgment insofar as the trial court concluded that the named defendant, the Town Plan and Zoning Commission of the Town of Fairfield (commission), improperly granted Fairfield Commons' request for an extension of its special permit deadline to complete development, and (2) reversed the judgment insofar as the trial court concluded that the special permit could not be subject to a temporal limitation as a matter of law. See International Investors v. Town Plan & Zoning Commission, 202 Conn. App. 582, 606–607, 246 A.3d 493 (2021). With regard to the latter determination, the Appellate Court concluded that the commission had authority to adopt a regulation prescribing a temporal condition for special permits; see id., 599; and that a temporal condition does not violate the tenet that special permits run with the land. See id., 606. We agree with those conclusions subject to an important—and, in this case, determinative—limitation that the Appellate Court did not recognize: such a special permit regulation may not prescribe a shorter time limitation for completing development than the statutory period prescribed for completion of development in connection with an accompanying site plan under General Statutes § 8-3 (i) and (m). Because the statutory period governing completion of development in connection with Fairfield Commons' coastal area management site plan (site plan) had not expired, Fairfield Commons' special permit could not have expired for failure to satisfy that condition by force of a municipal regulation. We therefore reverse the Appellate Court's judgment.")