Katz v. Brandon

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtBefore KING; RYAN; In this opinion KING; COTTER
Citation245 A.2d 579,156 Conn. 521
PartiesWilliam KATZ v. Kenneth L. BRANDON et al.
Decision Date05 June 1968

Page 579

245 A.2d 579
156 Conn. 521
William KATZ
v.
Kenneth L. BRANDON et al.
Supreme Court of Connecticut.
June 5, 1968.

[156 Conn. 523]

Page 582

Igor I. Sikorsky, Jr., Hartford, for appellant (plaintiff).

Armand A. Korzenik, Hartford, for appellees (defendants).

Before [156 Conn. 521] KING, C.J., and HOUSE, COTTER, THIM and RYAN, JJ.

[156 Conn. 523] RYAN, Associate Justice.

The plaintiff brought this action for a declaratory judgment against the defendants named individually in their capacity as members of the Hartford Redevelopment Agency, hereinafter referred to as the agency, and against the members of the Hartford city council, the city of Hartford and the Olivetti-Underwood Corporation, seeking to determine the validity of a taking by eminent domain of land owned by the plaintiff. 1 The action [156 Conn. 524] arises from the approval by the agency of a redevelopment project which included within the area to be taken two parcels of land belonging to the plaintiff. The court determined that the action of the agency was proper, and the plaintiff has appealed, assigning as error that the approval of the redevelopment project was invalid because it was instituted for a private rather than a public purpose; that the plaintiff's right to due process was violated at a public hearing held on the project; and that the defendant Joseph V. Cronin, who participated in crucial deliberations and decisions concerning the redevelopment project, should have disqualified himself because of a conflict of interest.

Several of the plaintiff's assignments of error relate to the court's finding of facts. These assignments are not pursued in the plaintiff's brief and are therefore treated as abandoned. Wood v. Town of Wilton, 156 Conn. --, 240 A.2d 904.

The court found the following material facts: On or about July 1, 1961, and for some years prior thereto, the plaintiff and his wife were the owners of a parcel of land known as 57 Laurel Street, and the plaintiff was the sole owner of property known as 67 Laurel Street, both parcels being located in the city of Hartford in a business I zone. A single-family residence on the latter parcel was occupied by the plaintiff and his wife.

Olivetti-Underwood Corporation, hereinafter referred to as Olivetti, is a corporation

Page 583

with a manufacturing[156 Conn. 525] plant located in the Laurel Street area of Hartford. Sometime in 1958 or 1959, Olivetti was notified by the state highway department that land owned by Olivetti on Park Street, which was being utilized as an employee parking lot, would be condemned by the state highway department for use as part of interstate route 84, an east-west expressway. The area to be condemned involved 3.7 acres and accommodated approximately 700 employees' cars. Olivetti's officers informed various city officials of the possibility of the construction by Olivetti of a multiple-story garage in the area to be condemned if the city were to approve a redevelopment project. On or about February 2, 1962, a parcel of land approximately 171,160 square feet in area belonging to Olivetti was condemned by the state highway commission, and in due course an award of $708,800 was paid as compensation therefor, a price of approximately $4.14 per square foot.

Following the recommendations of the planning commission, the agency approved a project designated as the Underwood redevelopment area, which included some 33.3 acres of land within which were the parcels belonging to the plaintiff known as 57 and 67 Laurel Street, as well as land owned by Olivetti. The Underwood project was so named by the planning commission because Olivetti was the key industry and landmark in the area. Olivetti's first knowledge of the redevelopment project came from a letter from the planning commission, dated May 17, 1961, which was sent to Olivetti's vice-president along with an informational copy of a letter sent by the director of the planning commission to the director of the Greater Hartford Flood Commission.

Subsequently, the city of Hartford approached [156 Conn. 526] Olivetti concerning Olivetti's interest in the acquisition of land in the vicinity of its factory, and, in negotiations and conferences with the city, Olivetti was invited to make known the needs of its plant in the area of redevelopment. In addition to Olivetti, other manufacturing concerns in the area were consulted by the city. Officers of plants in the vicinity attened meetings with the city at the city's request, and the problems of all of the industrial units in the area were thoroughly discussed.

The Underwood site is in an industrial area dating back to the Civil War period, and there are several manufacturing plants in the area including, along with Olivetti, other large industrial complexes engaged in international manufacturing businesses, such as Merrow Machine, Billings and Spencer, and Arrow-Hart and Hegeman. The Underwood area suffered flooding in 1936, 1938 and 1955. The planning commission was for a long time aware of conditions in the Underwood area, and in 1950 it included this neighborhood in an official map of areas suitable for redevelopment. Because of more serious problems existing in other sections of the city, however, no renewal action was planned for the area until 1961. The general plan adopted by the planning commission contains a map dated July 18, 1950, which shows the Underwood area as a potential redevelopment area.

Factors which brought the Underwood redevelopment to the fore in 1961 were its mixed residential and industrial uses resulting in housing facilities located close to factories, the periodic flooding in the area emphasized by the efforts of the Greater Hartford Flood Commission, and the construction of interstate route 84, which passed through the Underwood area. The first formal steps for redevelopment[156 Conn. 527] were taken in 1961, but, because of intervening procedures required by the federal government to enable the city to receive a grant of federal funds for the project, the city was not in a position to acquire the land until December, 1965. The city complied with all statutory provisions in connection with the Underwood redevelopment project, and the federal government recognized this compliance by authorizing a redevelopment contract with the city and by the giving of a federal grant of $1,600,

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000 and loans of considerably more money for the project. Both the agency and the city council passed resolutions making requisite findings that the area was suitable for redevelopment and approving the redevelopment plan to meet all state and federal requirements for a redevelopment project. It was found that the structures in the area were substandard and unsafe, that the facilities were inadequate, and that the conditions were unsuitable for a residential environment. It was further found that the conditions of the area were detrimental to the health, safety, morals and welfare of the community.

Although the city hoped that Olivetti would be a strong contender for project land for industrial expansion or parking, it was felt that the project was necessary with or without Olivetti's participation as a redeveloper. In January, 1962, Olivetti made an offer to the city to purchase 350,000 square feet of land in the redevelopment area at one dollar a square foot, but this offer was never acted upon or accepted by the city. At no time has Olivetti entered into any agreement with the city for the transfer to Olivetti of land, or title to land, in the redevelopment area. Olivetti does not have any agreement with the city for the acquisition of land in the redevelopment[156 Conn. 528] area, nor has it ever communicated any threat to the city to leave Hartford if land in this area was not furnished to it.

A redevelopment project such as the one approved by the agency requires a public notification of any intent or memorandum or understanding which would bind the agency and a redeveloper, the content of which must be advertised and made available to the public. There is a waiting period before the agency and the city council can consummate any redevelopment transaction. To execute an agreement for the disposition of land there must be a nominating or preliminary approval of the redeveloper by the agency, approval by the city council after a ten-day period, and final approval at a subsequent meeting of the agency. To be entitled to federal aid, the approval of the federal government is required as to price and also as to terms varying from a standard form before there can be a disposition of redevelopment land. No redevelopment contract has been prepared or signed with Olivetti or with any other party. The land is not cleared and is not available except for temporary parking. Such use is presently being made of some of the redevelopment land by several industries in the area including Olivetti. No price has been set or approved for disposition of land in the Underwood project. Olivetti's offer to purchase was not approved either formally or informally, and to the date of trial the city did not have any agreement, either pending or consummated, with Olivetti, nor had Olivetti indicated any concrete interest in a specific amount and a specific location in the redevelopment area.

A bond issue for the Underwood redevelopment project was passed by the city in November, 1961. [156 Conn. 529] A public hearing on the project was held June 10, 1964, after proper legal notice. There was made available to the public in advance of the public hearing, an agenda or summary of the redevelopment plan, or key parts of it. At the public hearing there were members of the public in attendance, including the plaintiff, and all persons who asked to be recognized were given a fair hearing and full opportunity to make their views known. At the public hearing, the plaintiff, who was accompanied by counsel, spoke more than once, and his counsel spoke...

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43 practice notes
  • Chmielewski v. Aetna Cas. and Sur. Co., No. 14100
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 14, 1991
    ...Manufacturers Assn. of the United States, Inc. v. O'Neill, 212 Conn. 83, 94, 561 A.2d 917 (1989) (access to the courts); Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 537, 245 A.2d 579 (1968) (due process); and has the same meaning and same limitations as the federal due process provision. See Circuit-Wi......
  • Caldor's, Inc. v. Bedding Barn, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 10, 1979
    ...Kellems v. Brown, 163 Conn. 478, 485, 313 A.2d 53, appeal dismissed, 409 U.S. 1099, 93 S.Ct. 911, 34 L.Ed.2d 678 (1972); Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 537, 245 A.2d 579 (1968); People v. Santiago, 51 A.D.2d 1, 10, 379 N.Y.S.2d 843 (1975). Under any and all of these provisions, an act regu......
  • Kelo v. City of New London, (SC 16742)
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 9, 2004
    ...104 S. Ct. 2321, 81 L. Ed. 2d 186 (1984), Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26, 31-32, 75 S. Ct. 98, 99 L. Ed. 27 (1954), Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 532-34, 245 A.2d 579 (1968), Gohld Realty Co. v. Hartford, 141 Conn. 135, 141-43, 104 A.2d 365 (1954), and Olmstead v. Camp, 33 Conn. 532, 546 (......
  • United Oil Co. v. Urban Redevelopment Commission of City of Stamford
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 16, 1969
    ...or exercised unreasonably or in bad faith, as the plaintiffs here allege, their actions are open to judicial review. Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 531, 245 A.2d 579; McAdam v. Sheldon, 153 Conn. 278, 281, 216 A.2d 193; Graham v. Houlihan, 147 Conn. 321, 328, 160 A.2d 745, cert. denied, 36......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
43 cases
  • Chmielewski v. Aetna Cas. and Sur. Co., No. 14100
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 14, 1991
    ...Manufacturers Assn. of the United States, Inc. v. O'Neill, 212 Conn. 83, 94, 561 A.2d 917 (1989) (access to the courts); Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 537, 245 A.2d 579 (1968) (due process); and has the same meaning and same limitations as the federal due process provision. See Circuit-Wi......
  • Caldor's, Inc. v. Bedding Barn, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 10, 1979
    ...Kellems v. Brown, 163 Conn. 478, 485, 313 A.2d 53, appeal dismissed, 409 U.S. 1099, 93 S.Ct. 911, 34 L.Ed.2d 678 (1972); Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 537, 245 A.2d 579 (1968); People v. Santiago, 51 A.D.2d 1, 10, 379 N.Y.S.2d 843 (1975). Under any and all of these provisions, an act regu......
  • Kelo v. City of New London, (SC 16742)
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 9, 2004
    ...104 S. Ct. 2321, 81 L. Ed. 2d 186 (1984), Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26, 31-32, 75 S. Ct. 98, 99 L. Ed. 27 (1954), Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 532-34, 245 A.2d 579 (1968), Gohld Realty Co. v. Hartford, 141 Conn. 135, 141-43, 104 A.2d 365 (1954), and Olmstead v. Camp, 33 Conn. 532, 546 (......
  • United Oil Co. v. Urban Redevelopment Commission of City of Stamford
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 16, 1969
    ...or exercised unreasonably or in bad faith, as the plaintiffs here allege, their actions are open to judicial review. Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn. 521, 531, 245 A.2d 579; McAdam v. Sheldon, 153 Conn. 278, 281, 216 A.2d 193; Graham v. Houlihan, 147 Conn. 321, 328, 160 A.2d 745, cert. denied, 36......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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