April 22, 2019
from Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford, Kenneth
L. Shluger, J.
V. Gelderman, Westport, for the appellant (defendant).
S. Hollister, Hartford, for the appellee (plaintiff).
Bright and Bear, Js.
Conn.App. 824] The defendant, the Water Pollution Control
Authority for the Town of Westport, appeals from the judgment
of the trial court sustaining the appeal of the plaintiff,
Summit Saugatuck, LLC, from the defendants decision to deny
the plaintiffs application for a sewer extension to service
a proposed affordable housing development. The court remanded
[193 Conn.App. 825] the matter back to the defendant with
direction to approve conditionally the sewer extension
application subject to the completion of ongoing improvements
and upgrades of capacity to the sanitary sewer system in the
town of Westport (town). On appeal, the defendant claims that
the trial court, by sustaining the appeal and ordering a
conditional approval of the application, improperly
substituted its own judgment for the reasoned and lawful
discretion exercised by the defendant. We agree and,
accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial
record reveals the following facts and procedural history.
The plaintiff owns property or options to purchase property
in an area of town that is zoned for high [193 Conn.App. 826]
density development to be served by the towns sewer system.
The plaintiff seeks to develop its property for multifamily
residential use. A sewer extension from the towns system is
needed to service the planned development.
October, 2014, the plaintiff, pursuant to General Statutes §
7-246a, applied to the defendant for approval
of a private
sewer extension for a proposed 186 unit affordable housing
development. Because a proposed sewer extension is
deemed a municipal improvement, the defendant referred the
application to the towns planning and zoning commission
(zoning commission) for a report pursuant to General Statutes
§ 8-24. See footnote 1 of this opinion.
January 8, 2015, the zoning commission held a hearing on the
plaintiffs application. Steven Edwards, the towns public
works director at the time, testified at the hearing that the
towns existing sewer system required repairs and upgrades
before it could handle the additional sewage from the
proposed development. Specifically, Edwards explained that
replacement of a force main running under the Saugatuck River
and one of the pump stations could take up to five years.
[193 Conn.App. 827] Edwards thought a reasonable goal for the
completion of the upgrade/repairs would be the summer of
zoning commission issued a negative report on January 26,
2015. The plaintiff elected to withdraw its application with
the defendant at that time.
plaintiff subsequently entered into an agreement with an
affiliate of the Westport Housing Authority (affiliate)
pursuant to which the plaintiff would develop eighty-five
market rate units and the affiliate would develop seventy
adjacent affordable housing units. On April 11, 2016, the
plaintiff reapplied to ...