Gregory and Adams, P.C.
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Land use litigation: Three hurdles to settlement

It is not uncommon for disputes over land use laws to end up seeking resolution through traditional litigation. There are many hurdles that can make negotiating a settlement in these cases difficult.

Three hurdles that often keep the parties from reaching a settlement agreement for land use and planning disputes in Connecticut include:

 

  • Options for compromise are few. Land use disputes generally involve two parties that wish to do different things with the same piece of land. It is difficult to find a "middle ground" in these situations.
  • Potential for political recourse. Community members often vote municipality members into office. As such, there can be a political layer to these cases. This is particularly true of cases that involve a municipality official as one party. As such, instead of explaining a negotiated settlement agreement these officials may use the final judicial decision as way to remove themselves from the resolution for the issue during future campaigns for reelection.
  • Legal doctrine. There is an argument that the laws that govern land use and planning are part of the problem. Many municipalities, for example, cannot settle a land use dispute without the approval of other municipal bodies. Even when the approval is received, the law may allow neighbors to mount a challenge.

Although these hurdles can make settlement difficult, this form of resolution is possible. The above serves to highlight the difficulties that are present with these disputes. As such, it is wise for any landowner facing a development issue to seek legal counsel. An attorney experienced in this niche area of the law can aid in negotiating settlements or, if necessary, litigating the issue on your behalf.

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