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Summit Saugatuck, LLC v. Water Pollution Control Authority

Appellate Court of Connecticut

October 29, 2019

SUMMIT SAUGATUCK, LLC
v.
WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AUTHORITY OF the TOWN OF WESTPORT

         Argued April 22, 2019

         Appeal from Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford, Kenneth L. Shluger, J.

Page 184

          Peter V. Gelderman, Westport, for the appellant (defendant).

         Timothy S. Hollister, Hartford, for the appellee (plaintiff).

         Prescott, Bright and Bear, Js.

          OPINION

         PRESCOTT, J.

Page 185

          [193 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 defendant’s decision to deny the plaintiff’s 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 court.[1]

          The 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 town’s sewer system. The plaintiff seeks to develop its property for multifamily residential use. A sewer extension from the town’s system is needed to service the planned development.

         In October, 2014, the plaintiff, pursuant to General Statutes § 7-246a,[2] applied to the defendant for approval of a private

Page 186

sewer extension for a proposed 186 unit affordable housing development.[3] Because a proposed sewer extension is deemed a municipal improvement, the defendant referred the application to the town’s planning and zoning commission (zoning commission) for a report pursuant to General Statutes § 8-24. See footnote 1 of this opinion.

          On January 8, 2015, the zoning commission held a hearing on the plaintiff’s application. Steven Edwards, the town’s public works director at the time, testified at the hearing that the town’s 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 2017.

          The zoning commission issued a negative report on January 26, 2015. The plaintiff elected to withdraw its application with the defendant at that time.

          The 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 ...


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