On Saturday, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7I(19) which modifies statutory municipal and land use procedural requirements in CT during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
The goal of the Order is to enable the continuation of municipal functions and decision-making, including the filing of land use applications and rendering of decisions, to the extent feasible, without in-person, face-to-face interaction. This is good news and means municipal and development work can continue.
Entitled, “Suspension, Modification and Clarification of Certain Municipal Procedural Requirements and Time Limitations Regarding Notice, Commencement and Holding of Public Hearings, Decisions, and Appeals” the Order applies to several sections of the Connecticut General Statutes, including Zoning, Planning, Inland Wetland and Watercourses, Coastal Management, Freedom of Information, Historic Districts/Properties, Municipal Powers, Municipal Sewer Systems, Crematories, and Water Resources/Invasive Plants (Aquifer Protections Areas).This Order dovetails with Executive Order 7B(1), “Suspension of In-Person Open Meeting Requirements,” which enables municipalities to replace in person meetings (“open meetings”) with electronic meetings.
The Order further provides progressive and flexible solutions for land use applications and municipal functions that are compromised due to Town Hall closures and related staffing or quorum shortages arising from the public health and civil preparedness emergency, including, but not limited to:
- Adding up to a 90-day extension to typical land use deadlines for starting, finishing and deciding a zoning application. This extension may be applied by a municipality or the applicant.
- Adding up to a 90-day extension for a historic district/historic property application and decision.
- Required newspaper notices may be satisfied with online/electronic notice posting on a municipality’s website.
- Required town clerk filings/notices may be satisfied with online/electronic notice posting on a municipality’s website.
- Required notice by sign postings may be satisfied with online/electronic posting on a municipality’s website.
- Required mailings may be satisfied by alternative means, including by electronic mail, U.S. Mail (no proof of mailing required), or substituted with sign postings on the subject property.
- Petitions and petitions of a decision may utilize electronic signatures to commence action;
- Appeals to the Superior Court may commence by a proper officer making electronic service; and
- Appeals from a Zoning Enforcement Officer or IWWA Agent may be made to the ZBA or IWWA Commission using electronic mail or regular mail.
There are several caveats to each modified statute, but the flexible concepts described herein are designed to keep business moving forward while ensuring: (1) the purpose of each notification requirement is maintained; (2) time frames for action are reasonably maintained; and (3) appeals may commence. The Order also requires that any documentation or submission made via e-mail be maintained in the record file as a hard copy and that any documents required for recording be recorded as soon as reasonably possible by the municipality.
We are here to support you in this challenging and rapidly evolving time. We are happy to discuss this Order with you at your convenience and answer any questions you have. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Deborah R. Brancato
(203) 252-2648; firstname.lastname@example.org
Liam S. Burke
(203) 252-2689; email@example.com
Gregg T. Burton
(203) 784-3173; firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen Danehy Cox
(203) 575-2642; email@example.com
Marianne Barbino Dubuque
(203) 578-4218; firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela K. Elkow
(203) 252-2672; email@example.com
Lisa L. Feinberg
(203) 252-2677; firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick J. Hanna
(203) 252-2667; email@example.com
William J. Hennessey Jr.
(203) 425-4200; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey R. Houle
(203) 252-2646; email@example.com
Jacqueline O. Kaufman
(203) 252-2665; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason A. Klein
(203) 252-2669; email@example.com
Gary S. Klein
(203) 252-2696; firstname.lastname@example.org
Meaghan M. Miles
(203) 252-2642; email@example.com
M. Anne Peters
(203) 575-2647; firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher J. Rooney
(203) 784-3109; email@example.com
Elizabeth A. B. Suchy
(203) 252-2656; firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael P. Sweeney
(203) 252-2690; email@example.com
Jennifer Sills Yoxall
(203) 575-2603; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann H. Zucker
(203) 252-2652; email@example.com