Week of July 29

Welcome to CT Law of the Land. Developments in the law which can impact the state and municipal agency approval process for land use applications in Connecticut happen on almost a daily basis.  These can range from important court decisions, to legislative changes, all of which can dramatically impact the approval and review process.  On this page we will try to highlight some of those changes that might be of interest to our clients and prospective clients.  We invite you to check back regularly to receive potentially important tips.

No Hardship for Legally Nonconforming Residence

The owners of a residence in Fairfield that was legally nonconforming – that is, it failed to comply with zoning requirements in place now – wanted to demolish it and construct a new house that would also not comply with Fairfield’s zoning regulations.  The zoning board of appeals approved a variance request by the owners to increase building lot coverage on the property to 63 percent, though 20 percent is what is required there.  Abutting neighbors appealed that decision and prevailed.  The decision states that a nonconforming use of land cannot be enlarged or extended to include another building not subject to the nonconformity, and a variance can only be granted when there is a hardship.  The desire to construct a larger residence which would still fail to conform with the zoning regulations does not constitute a hardship.  McGuire v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Fairfield.   

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