Description: Challenge to variances granted for razing and rebuilding of cottage on coastal property.
Lauridsen Family Limited Partnership v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Town of Greenwich
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/12/2018 Memorandum of Decision Download Appeals dismissed. Connecticut Court Upheld Variances for Rebuilding of Coastal Home, Cited Need to Prepare Homes for Sea Level Rise. A Connecticut Superior Court cited the need to accommodate sea level rise and flood hazards in a decision upholding variances for the razing and rebuilding of a cottage in the Town of Greenwich. The owners of the cottage received approvals necessary to demolish the existing nonconforming cottage, which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and to construct a smaller structure. The court found that the proposed new dwelling would not substantially affect the comprehensive zoning plan, which, the court noted, addressed sea level rise through a flood hazard overlay zone. The court said this regulatory response to sea level rise was consistent with Connecticut land use jurisprudence. The court also found that substantial evidence supported both the finding that compliance with regulations would pose an unusual hardship and the finding that the new dwelling would actually decrease nonconformities. The court stated: “Simply put, the existing home—and perhaps, other storm damaged waterfront homes—cannot realistically be rebuilt or elevated and comply with the new flood regulations without some elasticity in the application of the regulations.” The court indicated that zoning regulations and rules concerning nonconforming uses had not been adopted with climate change and sea level rise in mind. The court recommended that the Connecticut legislature take action to encourage rebuilding or conforming of existing waterfront homes to comply with new building requirements and to address sea level rise. The court said such rebuilding should not depend “on the destruction of a dwelling as an antecedent.” 12/20/2017 Complaint Download Amended complaint filed.