What happens if there is a late appeal to a zoning decision?

Developers who receive plan approval can face challenges from other residents near the building site. In these cases, an upset neighbor could file a complaint with the Planning and Zoning Commission and attempt to challenge the plan.

Although Connecticut law requires allowance of an appeal in these situations, the minutiae of the appeals process can vary. However, state law generally requires any aggrieved party begin the appeals process within 15 days of notice. When the notice period begins to toll can led to controversy.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency generally publish their decisions. As a result, the notice period generally begins to run on the publication date. This is true even if the developer waits a couple of months before actually beginning the project. The publication itself is enough to meet the notification requirement.

Without publication, the aggrieved party could find success with a later challenge. A Zoning Enforcement Officer, for example, does not always publish their decisions. As a result, an aggrieved neighbor could have a strong argument that they were not notified and file a challenge well after the developer received approval for the plan. Developers can potentially avoid this issue by placing a legal ad in the newspaper to provide sufficient notice.

This is just one issue developers can find themselves attempting to navigate when dealing with Connecticut zoning laws. An attorney experienced in this extremely niche area of the law can review your proposal and provide guidance to help mitigate the risk of future challenges.