J. BURKE MANDABLE ET AL.
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF WESTPORT ET AL.
January 4, 2017
from Superior Court, judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk,
R. Spirer, for the appellants (plaintiffs).
V. Gelderman, for the appellees (named defendant et al.).
J. Krisch, with whom, on the brief, was Eric D. Bernheim, for
the appellees (defendant Norman Kramer et al.).
DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Lavery, Js.
dispositive issue in this appeal is whether two lot line
adjustment maps were improperly recorded in the Westport land
records by the defendants Norman Kramer and Karen Kramer
(Kramers) because the maps qualify as
‘‘resubdivisions, '' as that term is
defined in General Statutes § 8-18,  and thus required
approval by the defendant Planning and Zoning Commission of
the Town of Westport (commission) to be valid. The
plaintiffs, J. Burke Mandable and Paula K. Mandable, appeal
from the judgment of the trial court denying their request
for declaratory relief and dismissing their appeal from the
decision of the commission, in which the commission declined
to consider their challenge to two maps that the Kramers
recorded with approval from the defendant Laurence Bradley,
the planning and zoning director of Westport, but not from
the commission. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the
trial court erred in concluding that the Kramers were not
required to obtain the commission's approval because
their maps were not ‘‘resubdivisions''
under § 8-18. We affirm the judgment of the trial
following facts, as found by the court in its memorandum of
decision, and procedural history are pertinent to this
appeal. In 1929, before the town of Westport (town) adopted
subdivision regulations, a map numbered 682 (1929 map) was
filed in the Westport Land Records. The 1929 map encompassed
the properties now known as 10 Wakeman Road and 11 Wakeman
Road in Westport. The plaintiffs own 11 Wakeman Road and the
Kramers own 10 Wakeman Road.
2010, the Kramers submitted a map to Bradley for his review.
The map purported to consolidate two parcels of land into a
single lot at 10 Wakeman Road. In accordance with §
45-10 of the Westport Zoning Regulations,  Bradley signed
and dated the map, making it eligible for recording in the
land records, and affixed it with the following notation:
‘‘[T]his plan is neither a subdivision nor a
resubdivision as defined by the General Statutes of
Connecticut and the [town] and may be recorded without prior
approval of the [commission]. This stamp allows this map to
be filed in the Westport Land Records. The presence of this
stamp is not an endorsement of the accuracy of the map by the
[town] or any board, commission, agency or official agent or
employee of the town.'' The map was recorded in the
land records in June, 2010. In 2013, the Kramers submitted a
second map to Bradley for his review, which purported to
divide 10 Wakeman Road into two lots. Bradley signed, dated,
and stamped the map with the same notation, and the map was
recorded in May, 2013.
January, 2014, after learning of the two lot line adjustment
maps, the plaintiffs filed with the commission a
‘‘Petition for Determination of Re-Subdivision
for Property Located at 10 Wakeman Road, Westport,
Connecticut'' (petition). In a letter dated January
20, 2014, the commission refused to consider the petition on
the grounds that the plaintiffs' opportunity to appeal
Bradley's actions ‘‘expired long
ago'' and that it was ‘‘unaware of any
authority'' upon which to consider the petition.
plaintiffs filed a two count amended complaint against the
defendants in the trial court. The first count appealed the
commission's refusal to consider their
petition. The second count sought a declaratory
judgment determining that, inter alia, the maps recorded by
the Kramers were ‘‘resubdivisions'' under
§ 8-18 and, therefore, required approval by the
court rejected the plaintiffs' statutory argument in a
memorandum of decision dated June 4, 2015. Relying on the
plain language of § 8-18, the trial court determined
that ‘‘there can be no ‘resubdivision'
unless there has first been a ‘subdivision, ' and
the division of land prior to the adoption of subdivision
regulations is not a subdivision.'' The court
concluded that because the Kramers' maps did not modify a
subdivision-that is, they altered the 1929 map that had been
filed prior to the town's adoption of subdivision
regulations-they were not resubdivisions and, therefore, did
not require the commission's approval to be valid.
Therefore, the court dismissed the plaintiffs' appeal and
denied their request for declaratory relief.
plaintiffs claim that the court misconstrued § 8-18 in
determining that the term
‘‘resubdivision'' did not encompass the
Kramers' maps. Specifically, the plaintiffs contend that
§ 8-18 defines ‘‘resubdivision'' to
include not only changes to maps of approved
subdivisions, but also to changes to recorded
maps that do not qualify as subdivisions because
they were recorded before the town's subdivision
regulations were adopted. The defendants respond that, ...