CHAPTER 126
MUNICIPAL PLANNING COMMISSIONS

Table of Contents

Sec. 8-23. Preparation, amendment or adoption of plan of conservation and development.
Sec. 8-25. Subdivision of land.
Sec. 8-26a. Effect of change in subdivision or zoning regulations or boundaries of districts after approval of plan.
Sec. 8-28. Notice of decision of planning commission. Appeal.

      Sec. 8-23. Preparation, amendment or adoption of plan of conservation and development. (a)(1) At least once every ten years, the commission shall prepare or amend and shall adopt a plan of conservation and development for the municipality. Following adoption, the commission shall regularly review and maintain such plan. The commission may adopt such geographical, functional or other amendments to the plan or parts of the plan, in accordance with the provisions of this section, as it deems necessary. The commission may, at any time, prepare, amend and adopt plans for the redevelopment and improvement of districts or neighborhoods which, in its judgment, contain special problems or opportunities or show a trend toward lower land values.

      (2) If a plan is not amended decennially, the chief elected official of the municipality shall submit a letter to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and the Commissioners of Transportation, Environmental Protection and Economic and Community Development that explains why such plan was not amended. Until the plan is amended in accordance with this subsection, a copy of such letter shall be included in each application by the municipality for funding for the conservation or development of real property submitted to said secretary or commissioners.

      (b) In the preparation of such plan, the commission may appoint one or more special committees to develop and make recommendations for the plan. The membership of any special committee may include: Residents of the municipality and representatives of local boards dealing with zoning, inland wetlands, conservation, recreation, education, public works, finance, redevelopment, general government and other municipal functions. In performing its duties under this section, the commission or any special committee may accept information from any source or solicit input from any organization or individual. The commission or any special committee may hold public informational meetings or organize other activities to inform residents about the process of preparing the plan.

      (c) In preparing such plan, the commission or any special committee shall consider the following: (1) The community development action plan of the municipality, if any, (2) the need for affordable housing, (3) the need for protection of existing and potential public surface and ground drinking water supplies, (4) the use of cluster development and other development patterns to the extent consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity within the municipality, (5) the state plan of conservation and development adopted pursuant to chapter 297, (6) the regional plan of development adopted pursuant to section 8-35a, (7) physical, social, economic and governmental conditions and trends, (8) the needs of the municipality including, but not limited to, human resources, education, health, housing, recreation, social services, public utilities, public protection, transportation and circulation and cultural and interpersonal communications, (9) the objectives of energy-efficient patterns of development, the use of solar and other renewable forms of energy and energy conservation, and (10) protection and preservation of agriculture.

      (d) (1) Such plan of conservation and development shall (A) be a statement of policies, goals and standards for the physical and economic development of the municipality, (B) provide for a system of principal thoroughfares, parkways, bridges, streets, sidewalks, multipurpose trails and other public ways as appropriate, (C) be designed to promote, with the greatest efficiency and economy, the coordinated development of the municipality and the general welfare and prosperity of its people and identify areas where it is feasible and prudent (i) to have compact, transit accessible, pedestrian-oriented mixed use development patterns and land reuse, and (ii) to promote such development patterns and land reuse, (D) recommend the most desirable use of land within the municipality for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, conservation and other purposes and include a map showing such proposed land uses, (E) recommend the most desirable density of population in the several parts of the municipality, (F) note any inconsistencies with the following growth management principles: (i) Redevelopment and revitalization of commercial centers and areas of mixed land uses with existing or planned physical infrastructure; (ii) expansion of housing opportunities and design choices to accommodate a variety of household types and needs; (iii) concentration of development around transportation nodes and along major transportation corridors to support the viability of transportation options and land reuse; (iv) conservation and restoration of the natural environment, cultural and historical resources and existing farmlands; (v) protection of environmental assets critical to public health and safety; and (vi) integration of planning across all levels of government to address issues on a local, regional and state-wide basis, (G) make provision for the development of housing opportunities, including opportunities for multifamily dwellings, consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity, for all residents of the municipality and the planning region in which the municipality is located, as designated by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management under section 16a-4a, (H) promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing, including housing for both low and moderate income households, and encourage the development of housing which will meet the housing needs identified in the housing plan prepared pursuant to section 8-37t and in the housing component and the other components of the state plan of conservation and development prepared pursuant to chapter 297. In preparing such plan the commission shall consider focusing development and revitalization in areas with existing or planned physical infrastructure.

      (2) For any municipality that is contiguous to Long Island Sound, such plan shall be (A) consistent with the municipal coastal program requirements of sections 22a-101 to 22a-104, inclusive, (B) made with reasonable consideration for restoration and protection of the ecosystem and habitat of Long Island Sound, and (C) designed to reduce hypoxia, pathogens, toxic contaminants and floatable debris in Long Island Sound.

      (e) Such plan may show the commission's and any special committee's recommendation for (1) conservation and preservation of traprock and other ridgelines, (2) airports, parks, playgrounds and other public grounds, (3) the general location, relocation and improvement of schools and other public buildings, (4) the general location and extent of public utilities and terminals, whether publicly or privately owned, for water, sewerage, light, power, transit and other purposes, (5) the extent and location of public housing projects, (6) programs for the implementation of the plan, including (A) a schedule, (B) a budget for public capital projects, (C) a program for enactment and enforcement of zoning and subdivision controls, building and housing codes and safety regulations, (D) plans for implementation of affordable housing, (E) plans for open space acquisition and greenways protection and development, and (F) plans for corridor management areas along limited access highways or rail lines, designated under section 16a-27, (7) proposed priority funding areas, and (8) any other recommendations as will, in the commission's or any special committee's judgment, be beneficial to the municipality. The plan may include any necessary and related maps, explanatory material, photographs, charts or other pertinent data and information relative to the past, present and future trends of the municipality.

      (f) A plan of conservation and development or any part thereof or amendment thereto prepared by the commission or any special committee shall be reviewed, and may be amended, by the commission prior to scheduling at least one public hearing on adoption. At least thirty-five days prior to the public hearing on adoption, the commission shall post the draft plan on the Internet web site of the municipality, if any, and submit a copy of such draft plan to the regional planning agency for review and comment. The regional planning agency shall submit an advisory report along with its comments to the commission at or before the hearing. Such comments shall include a finding on the consistency of the draft plan with (1) the regional plan of development, adopted under section 8-35a, (2) the state plan of conservation and development, adopted pursuant to chapter 297, and (3) the plans of conservation and development of other municipalities in the area of operation of the regional planning agency. The commission may revise the draft plan in accordance with the report of the regional planning agency. The commission may render a decision on the plan without the report of the regional planning agency. Prior to the public hearing on adoption, the commission shall file in the office of the town clerk a copy of such draft plan or part thereof or amendment thereto but, in the case of a district commission, such commission shall file such information in the offices of both the district clerk and the town clerk. The commission shall cause to be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality, at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days, or less than ten days, and the last not less than two days prior to the date of each such hearing, notice of the time and place of any such public hearing. Such notice shall make reference to the filing of such draft plan in the office of the town clerk, or both the district clerk and the town clerk, as the case may be. After completion of the public hearing, the commission may revise the draft plan. The proposed final plan shall be submitted to the legislative body for its endorsement. The legislative body shall endorse or reject the entire proposed final plan or parts thereof and may submit comments and recommended changes to the commission. In the case of a municipality in which the legislative body is a town meeting, the proposed final plan shall be submitted to the board of selectmen. The board may conduct a public hearing on such plan. Not more than forty-five days after receipt of the plan by the board of selectmen, the entire proposed final plan or parts thereof may be endorsed or rejected at a town meeting and such town meeting may submit comments and recommended changes to the commission.

      (g) The commission may adopt the plan or any part thereof or amendment thereto by a single resolution or may, by successive resolutions, adopt parts of the plan and amendments thereto. Any plan, section of a plan or recommendation in the plan, not endorsed by the legislative body of the municipality may be adopted by the commission by a vote of not less than two-thirds of all the members of the commission. Upon adoption by the commission, any plan or part thereof or amendment thereto shall become effective at a time established by the commission, provided notice thereof shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality prior to such effective date. Any plan or part thereof or amendment thereto shall be posted on the Internet web site of the municipality, if any, and shall be filed in the office of the town clerk, except that, if it is a district plan or amendment, it shall be filed in the offices of both the district and town clerks. The commission shall notify the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management of any inconsistency between the plan adopted by the commission and the state plan of conservation and development and the reasons therefor.

      (h) Any owner or tenant, or authorized agent of such owner or tenant, of real property or buildings thereon located in the municipality may submit a proposal to the commission requesting a change to the plan of conservation and development. Such proposal shall be submitted in writing and on a form prescribed by the commission. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of section 8-7d, the commission shall determine if a public hearing shall be held on the proposal not less than thirty-five days after submission of such proposal. The commission shall hold a public hearing on such proposal if it determines that such hearing is in the public interest. Except as provided in this section, any public hearing and decision shall be in accordance with the periods of time permitted under section 8-7d. The commission shall approve, deny or modify the proposal. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if the commission determines, at any time after the proposal is received, that such proposal would require changes to the plan of conservation and development that would be a significant change to the policies and goals of the plan of conservation and development, the commission shall consider the proposal in accordance with the provisions of subsection (f) of this section.

      (1949 Rev., S. 856; 1959, P.A. 577, S. 6; 1969, P.A. 477, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 862, S. 5, 6; P.A. 78-314, S. 3; P.A. 80-327, S. 2; P.A. 85-279, S. 4; P.A. 88-13, S. 1, 3; P.A. 91-392, S. 2; 91-395, S. 3, 11; 91-398, S. 2, 7; P.A. 95-239, S. 3; 95-335, S. 9, 26; P.A. 99-117, S. 1, 2; P.A. 01-197, S. 1, 4; P.A. 03-19, S. 20; P.A. 05-205, S. 1.)

      History: 1959 act added provisions re districts; 1969 act substituted "shall" for "may" thereby requiring that recommendation for most desirable land uses and population density be included in development plan, but did leave optional the inclusion of other recommendations re streets, bridges etc. and further clarified contents of plan re economic development, schedules, budgets, various codes and regulations and community needed and deleted requirement that report be filed annually; 1971 act changed public hearing notice requirements from publication at least seven days before hearing to publication "twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days" before hearing; P.A. 78-314 allowed consideration of energy-efficient development, renewable forms of energy and energy conservation in development plan; P.A. 80-327 allowed consideration of water supplies and their protection in development plan; P.A. 85-279 made consideration of surface and ground drinking water supplies in preparation of the plan mandatory rather than discretionary; P.A. 88-13 allowed consideration of affordable housing and open space acquisition in the plan of development and required that the plan of development be reviewed and updated at least once every ten years; P.A. 91-392 added provisions re development of housing opportunities and promotion of housing choice and economic diversity in housing; P.A. 91-395 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and amended them to require that municipal plans take into account the state plan and that plans adopted under this section be reviewed for consistency with the state plan of development and added Subsec. (b) requiring municipalities to consider use of cluster development; P.A. 91-398 added provision re plans in municipalities contiguous to Long Island Sound; P.A. 95-239 amended Subsec. (a) to provide that the plan may make regulations re traprock ridgelines; P.A. 95-335 amended Subsec. (a) to change the name of the plan of development to the plan of conservation and development and authorized the plan to include provisions re greenways protection and development, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 99-117 divided existing Subsec. (a) into (a) and (b), redesignating existing Subsec. (b) as (c), and amended Subsec. (b) by adding provision regarding explanation of failure to conduct review of the plan, effective January 1, 2000; P.A. 01-197 deleted former provisions and inserted new Subsecs. (a) to (h) which reorganized former provisions and authorized planning commissions to appoint special committees and to submit the plan to the legislative body of the town, broadened the scope of the plan to include cluster development, traprock and other ridgelines and neighborhood and district plans and made technical changes to form and content, effective July 1, 2001, and applicable to municipal plans of conservation and development adopted after that date; P.A. 03-19 made a technical change in Subsecs. (f) and (g), effective May 12, 2003; P.A. 05-205 amended Subsec. (c) to add Subdiv. (10) re protection and preservation of agriculture, amended Subsec. (d)(1) to redesignate subparagraphs and require the commission to consider focusing development and revitalization in areas with infrastructure, adding new Subpara. (B) re system of principal thoroughfares, revising new Subpara. (C) to add provisions re identification and promotion of areas of mixed use development patterns and land reuse, and revising new Subpara. (F) re growth management principles, amended Subsec. (e) to eliminate provisions re principal thoroughfares consistent with changes in Subsec. (d), revising Subdiv. (3) to add recommendations for schools and adding new Subdiv. (6)(F) re corridor management areas and new Subdiv. (7) re priority funding areas, amended Subsec. (f) to require posting of plan on Internet web site of the municipality, change the number of days the regional planning agency has for review from sixty-five to thirty-five, require the regional planning agency to make specific findings and add provisions re revision of the plan and submission to the legislative body, amended Subsec. (g) to add provisions re Internet posting and notice to the Office of Policy and Management, replaced former Subsec. (h) re hearings and endorsement with new Subsec. (h) authorizing an owner or tenant to request changes to the plan and made technical changes throughout the section, effective July 1, 2005 (Revisor's note: In Subsec. (d)(1)(C)(ii), the words "land and reuse" were changed editorially by the Revisors to "and land reuse" for consistency).

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      Sec. 8-25. Subdivision of land.

      Plaintiff's case for declaratory judgment on constitutionality of a subdivision regulation was ripe for judicial consideration because it concerned his rights as a property owner and events that plaintiff was likely to confront. 85 CA 606.

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      Sec. 8-26a. Effect of change in subdivision or zoning regulations or boundaries of districts after approval of plan. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special act or local ordinance, when a change in the subdivision regulations is adopted by the planning commission of any town, city or borough, or other body exercising the powers of such commission, no subdivision plan which has been approved, prior to the effective date of such change, by such planning commission or other body, and filed or recorded with the town clerk, shall be required to conform to such change.

      (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 shown on a subdivision or resubdivision plan approved before, on or after June 1, 2004, 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 shown on a subdivision or resubdivision plan approved before, on or after June 1, 2004, 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.

      (1959, P.A. 58; 59; February, 1965, P.A. 422; 1969, P.A. 396; 1971, P.A. 215; P.A. 84-147, S. 2; P.A. 04-210, S. 1; P.A. 05-288, S. 42.)

      History: 1965 act amended Subsec. (b) to provide buildings to be erected on lots in already approved subdivision shall not be required to conform to changes in zoning regulations; 1969 act replaced in Subsecs. (a) and (b) the deadlines for conforming to changes in regulations, i.e., from "three years ... from approval of subdivision plan" to "five years ... from the effective date of such change"; 1971 act deleted qualifying phrase "for residential property" modifying "subdivision plan"; P.A. 84-147 removed references to a five-year deadline for conformity with changes in subdivision regulations or zoning regulations or boundaries; P.A. 04-210 amended Subsec. (b) by designating existing provisions as Subdiv. (1) and applying said provisions to resubdivisions and by adding new Subdivs. (2) and (3) exempting construction on vacant lots from conformance to zoning changes, requiring construction on improved lots to conform to such changes and specifying that provisions of statute do not alter status of nonconforming uses or structures, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 05-288 made technical changes in Subsec. (b)(2)(A), effective July 13, 2005.

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      Sec. 8-28. Notice of decision of planning commission. Appeal.

      Plaintiff's failure to appeal imposition of required "sidewalk fund" contribution as condition of subdivision approval did not meet exceptions to rule against collateral attacks on zoning commission actions and thus was properly dismissed. 85 CA 606.

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