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R.B. Kent & Son, Inc. v. Planning Com'n of Town of Ledyard

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

May 1, 1990

R.B. KENT & SON, INC.
v.
PLANNING COMMISSION OF The TOWN OF LEDYARD, et al. Richard C. HALL, et al.
v.
PLANNING COMMISSION OF The TOWN OF LEDYARD, et al. Donna WORST, et al.
v.
PLANNING COMMISSION OF The TOWN OF LEDYARD, et al.

Argued Jan. 17, 1990.

Page 761

Thomas B. Wilson, Town Atty., for appellant-appellee (named defendant).

Peter S. Gianacoplos, for appellants-appellees (defendants Harry L. Morgan, et al.).

Frank N. Eppinger, with whom, on the brief, was Mark W. Oberlatz, for appellee (plaintiff in the first case).

James T. Haviland II, for appellees (plaintiffs in the third case).

Francis J. Pavetti, with whom, on the brief, was George C. Heck, for the appellees-appellants (plaintiffs in the second case).

Before BORDEN, EDWARD Y. O'CONNELL and FOTI, JJ.

[21 Conn.App. 371] BORDEN, Judge.

This is a combined appeal by the defendants [1] from the judgment of the trial court sustaining the zoning appeal of the plaintiffs. [2] That appeal [21 Conn.App. 372] challenged the approval by the named defendant, the Ledyard planning commission (commission), of a resubdivision application filed by the defendant applicant, Harry L. Morgan. The defendants claim that the trial court erred in concluding (1) that the drainage plan of the proposed resubdivision did not comply with the town's drainage ordinance, and (2) that the proposed resubdivision plan did not comply with the flood control provisions of the town's subdivision regulations. [3] We find error.

Page 762

Certain facts are undisputed. Morgan filed an application with the commission for approval of a resubdivision plan for an approximately thirty-five acre parcel of land in Ledyard. After more than nine hours of public hearings, the commission granted the application, subject to certain conditions not relevant to this appeal, and issued a lengthy and detailed written statement of its findings and the reasons for its action.

The plaintiffs appealed to the trial court. The court, sustaining their appeal, concluded (1) that the plan did not comply with § 5-3A of the town subdivision regulations and § 4 of the town's drainage ordinance, and (2) that the plan did not comply with §§ 3-1, 5-3 and 4-4 of the subdivision regulations regarding flood control[21 Conn.App. 373] measures. The court, however, rejected the plaintiffs' claim that the published notices regarding the hearing were inadequate. Upon the granting of certification, this appeal followed.

I

The defendants first claim that the court erred in concluding that the resubdivision plan did not comply with the subdivision regulation and drainage ordinance regarding storm water runoff. We agree.

It is axiomatic that a planning commission, in passing on a resubdivision application, acts in an administrative capacity and is limited to determining whether the plan complies with the applicable regulations. Reed v. Planning & Zoning Commission, 208 Conn. 431, 433, 544 A.2d 1213 (1988); Westport v. Norwalk, 167 Conn. 151, 155, 355 A.2d 25 (1974); Gagnon v. Municipal Planning Commission, 10 Conn.App. 54, 57, 521 A.2d 589, cert. denied, 203 Conn. 807, 525 A.2d 521 (1987). It is equally axiomatic that the trial court, in reviewing the action of a planning commission regarding a resubdivision application, may not substitute its judgment on the facts for that of the planning commission. Oakwood Development Corporation v. Zoning Board of Appeals, 20 Conn.App. 458, 460, 567 A.2d 1260 (1990). The conclusions of the commission must stand if even one of the stated reasons is reasonably supported by the record. Id., 20 Conn.App. at 460-61, 567 A.2d 1260.

Section 5-3A of the town's subdivision regulations provides in pertinent part: "All drainage control measures shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of the Town of Ledyard Drainage Ordinance, where applicable...." Section 4 of the drainage ordinance provides in pertinent part: "For all development regulated by this ordinance, a stormwater drainage system shall be designed so that the rate of runoff flow leaving the property for which the development is proposed shall not exceed or be substantially lower [21 Conn.App. 374] than the rate of storm water runoff which occurred prior to development." This ordinance mandates that the rate of storm water runoff from the property, that is, the runoff measured in cubic feet per second, must not exceed the rate of runoff occurring prior to development. It does not address the increase in the amount of storm water runoff occurring as a result of the proposed development.

The commission found that, although the amount of storm water runoff would increase as the result of the proposed resubdivision, because of the design of the plan's storm water management system the rate of runoff would not increase. The commission found that the plan complied with the drainage ordinance. There was ample evidence in the record to support its finding, including a letter from the town's public works director, and testimony from both an independent engineering firm associated

Page 763

with the town engineer and from Morgan's engineer.

The trial court found, and the plaintiffs argue on appeal, in response to the defendants' claim, that the commission's findings were flawed because of certain calculations of storm water runoff from a detention pond that was part of the storm water management system. We disagree. The commission received into evidence an exhibit presenting the results of a computer simulation in which 240 separate calculations based on various weather scenarios were used to determine the estimated runoff rates Before and after the proposed development. Of these 240 calculations, only four indicated a minor increase in the runoff rate after development. On the basis of that evidence, the commission found that "the release rate from the detention pond very slightly exceeds the calculated release rate prior to development, but the Commission feels ...


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