Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 26, 2017

Fed. Dist Court of CT Finds Claims Arising From Unenforceable Owner Occupancy Requirement Were Not Moot

Plaintiff, 62-64 Kenyon Street Hartford, LLC (“Rooming House”), was a Connecticut limited liability company that operated a rooming house at 62-64 Kenyon Street in Hartford, Connecticut since 1960. Co-Plaintiff Paul Rosow managed the Rooming House and owned the property. Defendant, City of Hartford, passed an ordinance which required proof of owner occupancy as a prerequisite for rooming house licenses. Hartford’s Municipal Code defined a rooming house as “any residential structure” for which the principal purpose “is to provide lodging, but not meals, for compensation, by pre-arrangement for definite periods, for three or more persons.” The City argued that the case was moot because a revised zoning map, which the City passed in January 2016, rendered the allegedly unconstitutional owner occupancy requirement unenforceable.

In this case, both parties agreed that the ordinance at issue, Sec. 18-164, should be unenforceable because of the revised zoning map. However, there was no suggestion in the City’s Municipal Code that the Sec. 18-164 was no longer enforceable. As such, if a City official attempted to enforce the Ordinance against the Plaintiffs, the Plaintiffs would have to seek an order declaring the Ordinance unenforceable. The court therefore concluded that the City’s allegedly offensive conduct might “be repeated again.” Furthermore, the City had not alleged that Mr. Rosow’s claims for damages were meritless or that he would have been denied a license even if Sec. 18-164 had not been passed. Accordingly, the court found Plaintiffs’ claims were not moot and were sufficient to allow this lawsuit to proceed for now.

62-64 Kenyon St. Hartford, LLC v. City of Hartford,  2017 WL 20911 (D. Conn. 1/2/2017)

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