Morningside Ass'n v. Planning and Zoning Bd. of City of Milford

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtBefore HOUSE; THIM
Citation292 A.2d 893,162 Conn. 154
PartiesThe MORNINGSIDE ASSOCIATION et al. v. PLANNING AND ZONING BOARD OF the CITY OF MILFORD et al.
Decision Date19 January 1972

Page 893

292 A.2d 893
162 Conn. 154
The MORNINGSIDE ASSOCIATION et al.
v.
PLANNING AND ZONING BOARD OF the CITY OF MILFORD et al.
Supreme Court of Connecticut.
Jan. 19, 1972.

Page 895

Robert Kapusta, Ansonia, for appellant (defendant West Blake, Inc.); with him, on the brief, was Stephen I. Traub, Asst. City Atty., for appellant (named defendant).

[162 Conn. 155] Richard H. Lynch, Milford, for appellees (plaintiffs).

Before [162 Conn. 154] HOUSE, C.J., and THIM, RYAN, SHAPIRO and LOISELLE, JJ.

[162 Conn. 155] THIM, Associate Justice.

The defendant, West Blake, Inc., has appealed from a judgment of the Court of Common Pleas sustaining the plaintiffs' appeal from the action of the named defendant in granting the petition of West Blake, Inc., for an amendment to the town plan of development of the area in question from a medium to a high density residence zone and in changing the zone from R-10 to R-MF. On December 26, 1967, West Blake, Inc., through its agent, Paul Collins, petitioned the planning and zoning board of the city of Milford, hereinafter referred to as the board, to change the zone of a parcel of land from an R-10 to an R-MF classification to permit the construction of garden-type apartments. 1 On the evening of March 5, 1968, the board held a public hearing to consider the petition. Earlier that evening, the board, in keeping with its custom to consider a change in the plan of development as a preliminary to any proposed zone change, on its own proposal, held a separate public hearing to amend the plan of development by changing the designation of the property in question from medium to high density residence. On June 11, 1968, the board voted to amend the plan of development and to change the zone designation of the parcel in question in accordance with the petition of West Blake, Inc. The plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Common Pleas which rendered judgment on July 7, 1969, sustaining the appeal. The basis on which the court relied was that the board had acted arbitrarily, [162 Conn. 156] illegally and in abuse of discretion in that: (1) It had failed to state a reason for its action and (2) there was no evidence of a change of conditions since the denial of a prior petition for a similar change of zone concerning the same property on November 23, 1965. The parcel of land involved consists of approximately 6.5 acres of undeveloped land. It is bounded on the south by Entrance Road, and on the other sides by privately owned property.

The defendant has assigned error in the court's conclusion that the board's action was illegal, arbitrary and in abuse of discretion for failing to give any reasons for granting the change of zone. Although the record does reveal the reasons some of the members of the board favored the zone change, the minutes disclose that the board as a collective body gave no reason for its action. Section 8-3 of the General Statutes requires a board, whenever making changes in zoning regulations, to 'state upon its records the reason why such change is made.' See Corsino v. Grover, 148 Conn. 299, 310, 170 A.2d 267; Woodford v. Zoning Commission, 147 Conn. 30, 31, 156 A.2d 470. Only reasons which motivated the board as a collective body should be stated. Ibid.; Jack v. Torrant, 136 Conn. 414, 420, 71 A.2d 705. While, however, a failure to comply with § 8-3 hinders appellate review of the board's action; Woodford v. Zoning Commission, supra; the provision is directory only, so that failure to comply with it does not render the board's action void. Corsino v. Grover, supra; DeMars v. Zoning Commission,

Page 896

142 Conn. 580, 584, 115 A.2d 653; Nielsen v. Board of Appeals on Zoning, 129 Conn. 285, 287, 27 A.2d 392. Failure to state reasons merely places a burden on the court to search the record to see whether the board was justified in granting the petition. Zieky [162 Conn. 157] v. Town Plan & Zoning Commission, 151 Conn. 265, 268, 196 A.2d 758. The burden, therefore, remained on the plaintiffs to prove that the board had acted illegally or so arbitrarily and unreasonably as to invalidate its action. Woodford v. Zoning Commission, supra, 147 Conn. 32, 156 A.2d 470; Mainolfi v. Zoning Board of Appeals, 146 Conn. 634, 635, 153 A.2d 460. The plaintiffs' further contention that the board's action is invalid for its failure to adopt or reject the changes requested in the defendant's petition within sixty days after the hearing in direct contravention of the provisions in § 8-3 is similarly without merit. Chesson v. Zoning Commission, 157 Conn. 520, 527, 254 A.2d 864; Donohue v. Zoning Board of Appeals, 155 Conn. 550, 554, 235 A.2d 643. Nor do we find that the cumulative effect of both a failure to state a reason and a failure to render a decision within sixty days by itself is sufficient to sustain the court's decision.

The gravamen of the defendant's appeal relates to the court's determination that since there had not been any change in conditions affecting the area in the interim between the present petition and the denial of a similar petition over two years earlier, the action taken by the board in reversing its position was not justified. Ordinarily, unless new conditions arise which substantially alter the character of an area, a change in zone classification is unwarranted. Metropolitan Homes, Inc. v. Town Plan & Zoning Commission, 152 Conn. 7, 11, 202 A.2d 241; Vece v. Zoning & Planning Commission, 148 Conn. 500, 503, 504, 172 A.2d 619; Nowicki v. Planning & Zoning Board, 148 Conn. 492, 496, 497, 172 A.2d 386; Kimball v. Court of Common Council, 148 Conn. 97, 101, 167 A.2d 706; Zoning Commission v. New Canaan Building Co., 146 Conn. 170, 175, 148 A.2d 330. A local zoning authority, however, acts in a [162 Conn. 158] legislative capacity when it enacts or amends its regulations. Malafronte v. Planning & Zoning Board, 155 Conn. 205, 208-209, 230 A.2d 606; Pierrepont v. Zoning Commission, 154 Conn. 463, 468, 226 A.2d 659; Metropolitan Homes, Inc. v. Town Plan & Zoning...

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44 practice notes
  • Campion v. BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN, No. 24360.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • November 9, 2004
    ...165 Conn. 389, 393, 334 A.2d 914 (1973). Spot zoning is not permitted in Connecticut. Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, 162 Conn. 154, 161, 292 A.2d 893 (1972). 22. The size of the planned development district is 3.37 acres, and a parcel that size meets the first element of spot......
  • Paige v. Town Plan and Zoning Com'n of Town of Fairfield, No. 15092
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 21, 1995
    ...W. Holding Corporation v. Planning & Zoning Board, 167 Conn. 182, 186, 355 A.2d 91 (1974); Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, 162 Conn. 154, 156, 292 A.2d 893 (1972). Gagnon v. Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission, 213 Conn. 604, 607-608, 569 A.2d 1094 (1990)." (Emphasis in ......
  • Campion v. Board of Aldermen, (AC 24360).
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • November 9, 2004
    ...165 Conn. 389, 393, 334 A.2d 914 (1973). Spot zoning is not permitted in Connecticut. Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, 162 Conn. 154, 161, 292 A.2d 893 (1972). 22. The size of the planned development district is 3.37 acres, and a parcel that size meets the first element of spot......
  • Michel v. Planning and Zoning Com'n of Town of Monroe, No. 10766
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • September 17, 1992
    ...area of land in such a manner as to disturb the tenor of the surrounding neighborhood." ' Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, [162 Conn. 154, 161, 292 A.2d 893 (1972) ]. Two elements must be satisfied before spot zoning can be said to exist. First, the zone change must concern a s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
44 cases
  • Campion v. BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN, No. 24360.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • November 9, 2004
    ...165 Conn. 389, 393, 334 A.2d 914 (1973). Spot zoning is not permitted in Connecticut. Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, 162 Conn. 154, 161, 292 A.2d 893 (1972). 22. The size of the planned development district is 3.37 acres, and a parcel that size meets the first element of spot......
  • Paige v. Town Plan and Zoning Com'n of Town of Fairfield, No. 15092
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 21, 1995
    ...W. Holding Corporation v. Planning & Zoning Board, 167 Conn. 182, 186, 355 A.2d 91 (1974); Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, 162 Conn. 154, 156, 292 A.2d 893 (1972). Gagnon v. Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission, 213 Conn. 604, 607-608, 569 A.2d 1094 (1990)." (Emphasis in ......
  • Campion v. Board of Aldermen, (AC 24360).
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • November 9, 2004
    ...165 Conn. 389, 393, 334 A.2d 914 (1973). Spot zoning is not permitted in Connecticut. Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, 162 Conn. 154, 161, 292 A.2d 893 (1972). 22. The size of the planned development district is 3.37 acres, and a parcel that size meets the first element of spot......
  • Michel v. Planning and Zoning Com'n of Town of Monroe, No. 10766
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • September 17, 1992
    ...area of land in such a manner as to disturb the tenor of the surrounding neighborhood." ' Morningside Assn. v. Planning & Zoning Board, [162 Conn. 154, 161, 292 A.2d 893 (1972) ]. Two elements must be satisfied before spot zoning can be said to exist. First, the zone change must concern a s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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