57 BROAD STREET STAMFORD, LLC, ET AL.
SUMMER HOUSE OWNERS, LLC
February 5, 2018
for an injunction restraining the defendant from interfering
with the plaintiffs' alleged rights under certain
easements, and for other relief, brought to the Superior
Court in the judicial district of Stamford-Nor-walk and tried
to the court, Hon. Taggart D. Adams, judge trial
referee; judgment for the defendant, from which the
plaintiffs appealed to this court. Affirmed.
Matthew B. Woods, for the appellants (plaintiffs).
R. Fogarty, for the appellee (defendant).
Lavine, Prescott and Harper, Js.
easement dispute, the plaintiffs, 57 Broad Street Stamford,
LLC, and 59 Broad Street Stamford, LLC, appeal from the
judgment rendered by the trial court, following a trial to
the court, in favor of the defendant, Summer House Owners,
LLC. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred in
concluding that (1) the defendant's construction of a
1500 square foot service access structure within a 6900
square foot easement area did not materially interfere with
the plaintiffs' reasonable use and enjoyment of the
easement area, and (2) the defendant had the unilateral right
to determine the method, timing, and location by which the
plaintiffs might use the easement area. We affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
following facts, as set forth in the court's memorandum
of decision or otherwise in the record and undisputed, and
procedural history are relevant to our resolution of this
appeal. In a complaint dated January 11, 2016, the plaintiffs
claimed that the defendant materially and substantially had
interfered with their use and enjoyment of an easement,
titled ‘‘Easement A''
(easement). The plaintiffs sought both compensatory
damages and injunctive relief. The easement is
‘‘contained in the recorded documents
[declaration] establishing the entity known as the Broad
Summer Condominium [condominium] located in downtown Stamford
. . . . The [c]ondominium is described as an ‘air
rights condominium,' and consists of six units. Unit 1
contains what is described as an almost forty year old, 30,
000 square foot three story building with full basement
fronting on Broad Street . . . . The building has been vacant
for several years. Unit 1 is jointly owned by the plaintiffs
. . . . Unit 2 . . . is the beneficiary of most of the air
rights and the present site of a recently constructed
[twenty-one] story residential apartment building that
includes four parking levels, owned by the defendant and
known as Summer House. . . .
area of [u]nit 2, which has an undivided interest in the
[c]ondominium of25.97 percent, includes an easement area . .
. for the benefit of [u]nits 1, 3 and 4. . . . The [easement]
area consists of a little less than 6900 square feet. . . .
[d]eclarant of the [c]ondominium is Tolari, LLC [Tolari].
Thomas Rich, the chief executive officer of F. D. Rich
Co[mpany], a long time real estate developer in Stamford, is
Tolari's managing member, and also an owner of Summer
House [condominium]. F. D. Rich Co[mpany] is described as the
primary developer of Summer House. . . . Tolari and the
principals of the plaintiffs, Kostas Alafoyiannis (principal
of 57 Broad [Street Stamford, LLC]) and Alexander Todorovic
(principal of 59 Broad [Street Stamford, LLC]) signed a
contract, dated June 19, 2012, for [the plaintiffs']
purchase of [u]nit 1. . . . Because the [c]ondominium
[d]eclaration and the plans for the apartment building were
not complete at that time, the contract contained an
‘out' clause allowing the [u]nit 1 purchasers a
period of time to rescind the purchase for ‘any reason
or no reason.' There followed negotiations between
attorneys for the [u]nit 1 purchasers . . . and the attorney
for the seller-declarant . . . .'' (Footnote added.)
These negotiations concerned the easement language that is at
issue in the present case. The language as negotiated is
contained in [§] 12.2 of the declaration, which is dated
October 24, 2012.
one year later, the construction plans were finalized.
‘‘The construction contract for Summer House was
dated August 28, 2013. . . . The plaintiffs were notified
that construction would commence by letter dated January 7,
2014. . . . The progress of construction is shown by dated
photographs . . . taken between February, 2014 [and] October,
2015. The . . . plaintiffs occasionally visited their
building during the construction period.'' (Citations
omitted; footnote omitted.) During this time, construction
began on the service access structure at issue in this
appeal. ‘‘[T]he service access structure is
approximately [seventy-five] feet long running east to west
and [twenty] feet wide. The structure effectively leaves
three means of access to the south side of the
plaintiffs' building on [u]nit 1. These means of access .
. . are: (1) a [ten] foot wide passage way between the Target
Store and [u]nit 1 extending south from Broad Street to the
light and air easement area south of [u]nit 1; (2) a seven
foot wide sidewalk running east-west between the
‘service access structure' and the Target Store
garage; and (3) an entryway under the Summer House varying in
width from [twenty to twenty-six] feet beginning at what is
labeled ‘Loading Area' . . . and running east from
the Target access way and turning north toward the back, or
south side, of the plaintiffs' building on [u]nit
‘‘[i]n December, 2015, . . . [the plaintiffs'
attorney], on behalf of the plaintiffs in a letter to . . .
[the defendant's attorney], demanded the defendant cease
and desist from building further structures located on [the
easement] and demolish what had been built there. . . . [The
defendant's attorney] responded a little over a week
later, noting that the plaintiffs had information for over
two years of the planned construction on [the easement] and
in any event, the plaintiffs would have the access and
parking called for in [§] 12.2 of the
plaintiffs commenced the underlying action the following
month, claiming that their easement rights encompassed the
entirety of the easement area and that the construction of a
service access structure in the center of the easement
interfered with those rights. A five day trial to the court
took place between June 15 and July 21, 2016. On November 30,
2016, the court issued its memorandum of decision. It
concluded that the defendant had not interfered with the