Posted by: Patricia Salkin | February 26, 2016

CT Supreme Court Finds Substantial Evidence Did Not Support Determination that Application of Zoning Regulations Caused a Practical Confiscation of Property to Warrant a Grant of Use Variance

This certified appeal arose from the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Meriden, to grant a variance to Development, LLC, to use a parcel of real property as a used car dealership, on the ground that the property had been practically confiscated. The defendant appealed from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court and remanding the case with direction to sustain the appeal of the plaintiffs, the city of Meriden, Dominick Caruso, and James Anderson, from the board’s decision granting the variance. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that: substantial evidence did not support the board’s conclusion that the property had been practically confiscated; and evidence of the property’s diminution in value was required.

Here, the defendant failed to prove practical confiscation because it did not demonstrate that the property had been deprived of all reasonable use and value under the regulations. Conversely, the appraiser’s report stated that “the property’s location is relatively good with convenient access to the interstate highway system…. In addition, the property has no significant physical characteristics that would preclude development…. The majority of the parcel is physically suitable for development.” Even if the property could not reasonably be used for executive offices or research and development, the defendant still fell short of establishing that the property had lost all reasonable use and value under the regulations. Accordingly, the court found the Board could not reasonably have concluded that the regulations had “greatly decreased or practically destroyed the property’s value for any of the uses to which it could reasonably be put.” For this reason, the court held that the Appellate Court properly reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the case with direction to sustain the plaintiffs’ appeal.

Caruso v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of City of Meriden, 2016 WL 338904 (CT 2/2/2016)


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