Posted by: Patricia Salkin | September 12, 2017

CT Appeals Court Holds Denial of Variances Did Not Result in an Inverse Condemnation nor Unjustly Enrich the Town

Plaintiff Anthony Santos appealed from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendants, the Town of Stratford and its Zoning Board of Appeals. Plaintiff brought and action against the Town and its Zoning Board of Appeals, alleging inverse condemnation and unjust enrichment arising from their refusal to grant variances relating to wetlands and lot width so that Plaintiff could develop unimproved parcel as a residential building lot. The Superior Court rendered judgment in the Town’s and Board’s favor, and denied the landowner’s motion to set aside judgment.

On appeal, Plaintiff contended that the court improperly determined that he failed to prove his claim for inverse condemnation. Specifically, he argued that he had a reasonable investment-backed expectation that he would be able to build a residential home on the property, and that the board’s denial of the requested variances has frustrated this expectation. Here, however, both parties conceded that if Plaintiff adjusted the building line by inserting a limitation in his deed so that the lot width deficiency was remedied, and the board approved a building plan consistent with that adjustment, Plaintiff would be able to build a home on his property. Therefore, the court found that the problem could be solved with relatively little expense. Moreover, because the plaintiff failed to establish either that it had been deprived of all beneficial use of the property or that it had been deprived of a reasonable investment-backed expectation, the court held the dismissal of the plaintiff’s inverse condemnation claim was proper. Since the court rejected the inverse condemnation claim, it likewise denied plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim.

Santos v Zoning Board of Appeals of Town of Stratford, 174 Conn. App. 531 (CT App 7/1//2017)

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