United States District Court, D. Connecticut
TIMOTHY G. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
TOWN OF SIMSBURY, ET AL. Defendants,
RULING RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC.
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Timothy Martin, brings this action against the
defendants, the Town of Simsbury, Hiram Peck, Howard Beach,
Michael Glidden, Margery C.B. Winters, Darren Cunningham,
Jason Levy, Craig MacCormac, Jim Morrison, Donna Beinstein,
and Donald Reiger (“defendants”), alleging
federal constitutional claims of a regulatory taking and
violations of substantive and procedural due process and
equal protection under sections 1983, 1985, and 1988 of title
42 of the United States Code, as well as state law claims of
intentional infliction of emotion distress, negligence,
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and inverse
condemnation. Am. Compl. This action arises from Martin's
interactions with the Simsbury Zoning Board regarding his
desire to build a single-family home on a parcel of land.
defendants bring this Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 25) under
Rules 12(b)(1), 12(b)(5), and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
over the Amended Complaint, insufficient service of process
as to defendant Beach, and failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Def.'s Mem. of Law in
Support of Mot. to Dismiss (“Def.'s Mem.”) at
1 (Doc. No. 25-1). They argue, inter alia, that
Martin's claim is not yet ripe for review because he has
failed to obtain a final decision from the relevant zoning
authority. Id. at 1-2.
the court concludes that it has no subject matter
jurisdiction over Martin's claims because he has not
sought and received a final decision from the relevant
authorities, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
considering a motion to dismiss due to lack of subject matter
jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), the court “must
accept as true all material factual allegations in the
complaint, but [the Court is] not to draw inferences from the
complaint favorable” to the party asserting
jurisdiction. J.S. ex rel. N.S. v. Attica Cent.
Schs., 386 F.3d 107, 110 (2d Cir. 2004).
following facts are alleged in the Amended Complaint and, as
such, the court accepts them as true for the purposes of
deciding the Motion to Dismiss. Id. Martin owns a
parcel of land (“the Property”) in Simsbury,
Connecticut, which was designated by the Simsbury
Assessor's Map D03, Block 208, Lot 003A. Am. Compl. (Doc.
No. 12) at ¶ 2. The lot was created under the
“Free/First Cut” section of the Simsbury Zoning
Regulations. Id. at ¶ 4. Former Simsbury
Compliance Officer and defendant, Howard Beach
(“Beach”) helped design the map for the land
split, and subsequently approved and signed the map before it
was filed in the Town Clerk's office as Town of Simsbury
map #3976 (“map”). Id. The Property was
then appraised by the Town Assessor at a value of $118, 000,
and subsequently taxed at approximately $3, 200 per year.
Id. at ¶ 7.
unspecified date, Martin applied to the Farmington Valley
Health District (“FVHD”) for a septic permit on
the Property. Id. at ¶ 10. The FVHD and the
defendants then demanded that Martin
“unnecessarily” redesign the proposed system
several times, which he did. Id. at ¶ 11. The
FVHD and the defendants still rejected his septic permit
application because they claimed that his soil test results
were erroneous. Id. The FVHD and the defendants
rejected Martin's offer to retest the soil on the
condition that the FVHD would issue the septic permit if the
second test had a consistent result. Id. at ¶
12. Martin appealed to the State of Connecticut Health
Department, with the result that Martin retested the soil in
the presence of an indifferent sanitarian, the Town of
Simsbury attorney, and the engineer who did the original
tests. Id. at ¶ 13. The test results were
consistent with his original tests, and the septic permit was
issued. Id. Martin alleges that no other applicant
was ever forced to go to such lengths or expense to verify
the accuracy of soil tests performed by licensed engineers.
Martin alleges that the Town and Beach informed Martin by
letter on January 30, 2015, that, although the official
approved inland wetlands map for the Town of Simsbury did not
place the Property on wetlands, they would not issue a
building permit until Martin had conducted a full wetlands
investigation of the Property. Id. at ¶ 14.
Martin alleges that there are no inland wetlands on or near
the Property according to the official inland wetlands map.
Id. at ¶ 16. The Town of Simsbury, Michael
Glidden (“Glidden”), the Zoning Enforcement
Officer, Hiram Peck, the Town Planner, and Beach were aware
of an unofficial and unapproved map of the wetlands for
years, but Martin alleges that he was the only person that
they ever imposed it on. Id. at ¶¶ 5, 7,
18, 20. Martin spent several months pleading with them that
it was unfair and unconstitutional to make him test for
wetlands when no one else in the area had to do so.
Id. at ¶ 19.
retired, and his successor, Glidden, also required Martin to
conduct a full wetlands investigation of the Property.
Id. at ¶ 20. Martin alleges that at least
dozens, if not hundreds, of lots in the town were developed
with the approval of Beach, Glidden, and Peck as their
supervisor, and despite their location on the unofficial
wetland map. Id. at ¶ 21. These other
individuals were not required to do a wetlands investigation
because their property was not located on the official inland
wetlands map. Id.
of performing a wetlands investigation, Martin chose to apply
for a building permit. Id. at ¶ 22. Glidden
responded to the application March 4, 2015, insisting that
Martin do the wetlands testing before a building permit could
issue, but also informing Martin that the Property was not,
in fact, a building lot. Id. Glidden determined that
the Property had never been approved as a building lot
because it lacked the required 200 feet of street frontage.
Id. at ¶ 36. Glidden's letter also
threatened criminal action against Martin for advertising to
sell the Property because it was an unapproved lot.
Id. Martin filed an appeal of Glidden's
rejection, first with the Inland Wetlands Agency for the Town
of Simsbury, and then with the Connecticut State Superior
Court, but both denied the appeal. Id. at ¶
24-25. The Superior Court dismissed Martin's case because
he had not exhausted all available administrative remedies.
Id. at ¶ 25; see, also, Martin v.
Town of Simsbury, No. CV 155039449, 2016 WL 673417
(Conn. Super. Ct. Jan. 26, 2016) (holding that Martin did not
take advantage of the process to determine whether or not his
activity was regulated such that he required a wetland permit
and so he had not exhausted his administrative remedies).
April 11, 2016, Martin requested that the Town of Simsbury
Conservation Commission (“the Commission”) give
him a definitive answer as to whether his application would
be considered under the unofficial inland wetlands map.
Id. at ¶ 32. Martin alleges that the
Conservation Commission, and defendants Winters, Cunningham,
Levy, MacCormac, Morrison, Beinstein, and Reiger voted to
evaluate the Property under the unofficial inlands wetland
map, and admitted that the official/approved map was
erroneous and they were acting contrary to law. Id.
at ¶ 33. Martin was unaware of any appeal process from
this decision, and letters to the Town of Simsbury Attorney
and the Conservation Committee received no response.
Id. at ¶ 35. Importantly, the Amended Complaint
does not allege that Martin requested that the Commission
determine whether or not his activity would have a
significant impact such that he need not apply for a permit,
or what the consequence of evaluating the Property using the
unofficial map were. See Town of Simsbury Inland
Wetlands Regulations, Section 7.1, 7.4.1 (2013) (describing
the wetlands permit application process).
Martin filed an appeal of Glidden's decision that the lot
was not a legal building lot with the Town of Simsbury Zoning
Board of Appeals (“ZBA”). Id. at ¶
39. The ZBA affirmed Glidden's decision. Id. at
¶ 44. The defendants suggested that Martin merge the
Property with a neighboring property, or ...