In 2004, the legislature passed Public Act 04-210 (SB 448), effective June 1, 2004, that sort of clarifies a property owner's vested rights to use one's property pursuant to a subdivision approval.
This bill is in response to Poirier v. Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Wilton, 75 Conn. App. 289 (2003), which held that the vested rights statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 8-26a, is clear in that no zoning regulation adopted after the date of subdivision approval shall be made applicable to lots in such subdivision. Opponents of the Poirier decision have argued that the vested rights statute applies only to lot dimensions, area and other characteristics of the lot but not to construction on such lots and sought legislative clarification.
Two original bills dealing with this issue would have restricted the important vested rights statute too much. The HBA opposed these original bills and a compromise bill was achieved in the last weeks of the legislative session.
Under this new law, lot dimensions, area and other characteristics of the lot itself retain a permanent vested right to the zoning regulations in place at the time of subdivision or resubdivisions approval (see subsection 8-26(b)(1)). Also, any construction on approved subdivision lots has a vested right to the zoning regulations in place at the time of subdivision or resubdivisions approval up until the point in time when a foundation is built pursuant to an issued building permit.
Construction that is permitted after that point in time, such as additions, tear downs, etc., would have to comply with zoning regulations in place at the time of the issuance of such building permit. Although this is contrary to current law as made clear by the Poirier decision, this revised law generally represents current practice.
The new law follows below. The bill amends the current law by adding the new (underlined) language:
Public Act 04-210 (SB 448) AN ACT REQUIRING SUBDIVISIONS TO COMPLY WITH SUBSEQUENTLY ENACTED ZONING REGULATIONS.
"Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 8-26a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
(b) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special act or local ordinance, when a change is adopted in the zoning regulations or boundaries of zoning districts of any town, city or borough, no lot or lots shown on a subdivision or resubdivision plan for residential property which has been approved, prior to the effective date of such change, by the planning commission of such town, city or borough, or other body exercising the powers of such commission, and filed or recorded with the town clerk, shall be required to conform to such change.
(2) (A) Any construction on a vacant lot on a subdivision or resubdivision plan approved before, on or after the effective date of this section shall not be required to conform to a change in the zoning regulations or boundaries of zoning districts in a town, city or borough adopted after the approval of the subdivision or resubdivision. Notwithstanding subdivision (1) of this subsection, any construction on an improved lot on a subdivision or resubdivision plan approved before, on or after the effective date of this section shall be required to conform to a zoning change adopted subsequent to said lot becoming an improved lot.
(B) For purposes of this subsection, (i) a lot shall be deemed vacant until the date a building permit is issued with respect thereto and a foundation has been completed in accordance with such building permit but shall not be deemed vacant if any structures on such lot are subsequently demolished, and (ii) a lot shall be deemed improved after the date a building permit is issued with respect thereto and a foundation has been completed in accordance with such building permit.
(3) This subsection shall not alter or affect a nonconforming use or structure as provided in section 8-2."
This law requires further clarification.