A special use permit for a new casino was recently approved in Connecticut. These permits allow for developers and land owners to use the property in a way that deviates from its zoned usage. However they are not permanent and specify a time frame for how long the specified land use may continue, which is usually based off of the intended length of the project, building or business.

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino recently sought the permit for their new casino. The site where they plan to build the casino was previously occupied by a move theater, although it is not clear if any type of zoning variance was needed for that building. The local planning and zoning commission unanimously approved the special use permit, giving the green light for the casino project to proceed.

Although the permit is now in place, the committee tabled the discussion of the site plan. This was due to some board members’ concerns that traffic might pose an issue with the casino. The extra time will apparently allow the developers to revisit the site plan — an essential document that details the location of buildings — and make adjustments as needed. 

There is no denying the important role that zoning laws play in Connecticut communities. Still, some land use that might fall outside of a property’s zoning ordinance might not only function, but may also benefit the community through job creation and taxes paid back into the local area. In such cases it is usually necessary to seek a special needs permit, which is much easier than attempting to change the property’s zone.