Posted by: Patricia Salkin | October 17, 2016

CT Appeals Court Holds the Term Manufacture, As Used in a Governing Zoning Regulation, Included Businesses’ Proposed Use – the Production of Construction Aggregate

The plaintiffs, Kobyluck Brothers, LLC, and Kobyluck Construction, Inc., appealed from a judgment of the trial court affirming the decision of the defendant, the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Town of Waterford, which denied the plaintiffs’ special permit and site plan application. On appeal, the plaintiffs claimed that the court incorrectly interpreted the term “manufacturing” as used in the Waterford Zoning Regulations to preclude the production of construction aggregate.

The gravamen of plaintiffs’ contention was that the court’s analysis was flawed and led it to misconstrue the term “manufacturing”, as neither the dictionary definition nor the relevant state case law supported the court’s construction of the term “manufacturing,” and consequently, the court erroneously interpreted the regulations. The court agreed that § 11.2.11 of the regulations was ambiguous. However, although it was clear that the regulations did not treat “manufacture” and “processing” synonymously, and the regulations classified rock crushing as a form of processing, it was less apparent that the regulations were intended to exclude this activity in the “manufacture … of other building materials,” which could include rock crushing. The dictionary definitions of “manufacture” and “process,” coupled with the manner in which “manufacturing” was defined by two legal treatises discussing zoning law, lead the court to conclude that the construction aggregate was manufactured through a series of actions, such as: excavating bedrock (the raw material), crushing the large, unusable rocks with industrial rock crushing machinery, and screening and sorting the smaller pieces of rock. Therefore, through a continuous operation, once the excavated bedrock was crushed, screened, and sorted, the resulting construction aggregate had been given a “new quality or characteristic and adapted…to new uses.”

Accordingly, the court determined that the excavated bedrock was changed in size and shape to produce construction aggregate, which had a new form, quality, and property that was different from the bedrock that was used to produce it. The process clearly fell under the purview of “manufacturing”, and the term therefore included the plaintiffs’ proposed use. Thus, the court held that judgment should be reversed and remanded. 

Kobyluck Bros., LLC v. Planning and Zoning Com’n of Town of Waterford, 167 Conn.App. 383 (CT App. 8/2/16)


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