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Connecticut lot owner fights city zoning regulations, and wins

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2020 | Land Use

It can happen in any neighborhood. A new business moves in, and neighbors are initially excited. However, after some time passes, the neighbors decide they do not want the business in their neighborhood. They attempt to push the business out. This can be done by boycotting the business or, as was the case in this instance, bringing in city officials and pushing for a lawsuit.

Details of the case: Neighborhood Association and business owner at odds

The neighbors complained to city officials, claiming the business was violating local zoning laws. A spokesperson for the Neighborhood Association stated the neighborhood was under the impression the lot owner would operate a small, residential garden center. Instead, they state the lot owner provides materials for landscaping companies. This has resulted in trucks often entering the center to fill their truck beds with materials to complete their projects.

Neighbors complained about the increased presence of large trucks and machinery in the neighborhood. They brought in city officials to review applicable zoning laws. The officials sided with the neighbors. As a result, the city of Stamford, Connecticut, officials issued the lot owner five cease-and-desist letters from 2008 through 2018. The city states the lot owner failed to comply. This failure led to the city to file a lawsuit against the lot owner.

Court hears the case, judge rules in favor of lot owner

Part of the concern voiced by the city: the lot owner has yet to construct a garden center. The owner has a permit for construction but explained to the judge that he was concerned the presence of additional vehicles like those used in the construction of a garden center would result in another cease-and-desist letter from the city.

The judge affirmed the lot owner’s reasoning for waiting to build the garden center. After review of the evidence, the judge also found the presence of trucks, machinery, and other complaints made by the city were not in violation of existing zoning regulations.

Such zoning disputes are not uncommon. Those who find themselves facing similar situations are wise to seek legal counsel to discuss their options.