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House Bill No. 5319

Public Act No. 12-146

AN ACT CONCERNING PERSONS AGGRIEVED BY DECISIONS OF MUNICIPAL LAND USE BOARDS AND THE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING MUNICIPAL BLIGHT ORDINANCES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 8-8 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Aggrieved person" means a person aggrieved by a decision of a board and includes any officer, department, board or bureau of the municipality charged with enforcement of any order, requirement or decision of the board. In the case of a decision by a zoning commission, planning commission, combined planning and zoning commission or zoning board of appeals, "aggrieved person" includes any person owning land in this state that abuts or is within a radius of one hundred feet of any portion of the land involved in the decision of the board.

(2) "Board" means a municipal zoning commission, planning commission, combined planning and zoning commission, zoning board of appeals or other board or commission the decision of which may be appealed pursuant to this section, or the chief elected official of a municipality, or such official's designee, in a hearing held pursuant to section 22a-250, whose decision may be appealed.

Sec. 2. Subparagraph (H)(xv) of subdivision (7) of subsection (c) of section 7-148 of the 2012 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):

(xv) Make and enforce regulations for the prevention and remediation of housing blight, including regulations reducing assessments and authorizing designated agents of the municipality to enter property during reasonable hours for the purpose of remediating blighted conditions, provided such regulations define housing blight and require such municipality to give written notice of any violation to the owner and occupant of the property and provide a reasonable opportunity for the owner and occupant to remediate the blighted conditions prior to any enforcement action being taken, and further provided such regulations shall not authorize such municipality or its designated agents to enter any dwelling house or structure on such property, and including regulations establishing a duty to maintain property and specifying standards to determine if there is neglect; prescribe [fines] civil penalties for the violation of such regulations of not less than ten or more than one hundred dollars for each day that a violation continues and, if such [fines] civil penalties are prescribed, such municipality shall adopt a citation hearing procedure in accordance with section 7-152c.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2012) (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any person who, after written notice and a reasonable opportunity to remediate blighted conditions, wilfully violates any regulation adopted pursuant to subparagraph (H)(xv) of subdivision (7) of subsection (c) of section 7-148 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, concerning the prevention and remediation of housing blight shall be fined by the state not more than two hundred fifty dollars for each day for which it can be shown, based on actual inspection of the property on each such day, that the blighted conditions continued to exist after written notice to the owner or occupant as provided in this section, and the expiration of a reasonable opportunity to remediate.

(b) Any person who is a new owner or new occupant shall, upon request, be granted a thirty-day extension of the notice and opportunity to remediate provided pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. For the purposes of this section, "new owner" means any person or entity who has taken title to a property within thirty days of the notice, and "new occupant" means any person who has taken occupancy of a property within thirty days of the notice.

Sec. 4. Section 7-148aa of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):

Any unpaid [fine] penalty imposed by a municipality pursuant to the provisions of an ordinance regulating blight, adopted pursuant to subparagraph (H)(xv) of subdivision (7) of subsection (c) of section 7-148, as amended by this act, shall constitute a lien upon the real estate against which the [fine] penalty was imposed from the date of such [fine] penalty. Each such lien may be continued, recorded and released in the manner provided by the general statutes for continuing, recording and releasing property tax liens. Each such lien shall take precedence over all other liens filed after July 1, 1997, and encumbrances except taxes and may be enforced in the same manner as property tax liens.

Approved June 15, 2012