AvalonBay Communities, Inc. v. Plan & Zoning Commission

AvalonBay Communities, Inc. v. Plan & Zoning Commission, 260 Conn. 232, 796 A.2d 1164 (2002) was a case in which the defendant plan and zoning commission of the town of Orange rejected the plaintiff's application seeking approval to build a luxury apartment complex with a percentage of affordable housing units. Id., at 234. The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court. Id. The court sustained the appeal and ordered approval of the application "pending any reasonable and necessary conditions" imposed by the defendant. Id., at 234. Seven months later, the defendant approved the plaintiff's application subject to sixteen conditions. Id., at 236. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for contempt, claiming, inter alia, that several of the conditions were unreasonable, unnecessary or inconsistent with the court's prior order and that others were impossible to perform. Id., at 236-37. Following a hearing, the court ruled that the plaintiff had failed to establish its claim of civil contempt, but ordered the defendant to modify or to rescind some of the disputed conditions. Id., at 237-38. The defendant appealed to this court, arguing that, absent a finding of contempt, the trial court lacked continuing jurisdiction to order the defendant to alter the conditions of approval after the passage of four months from the time they were imposed. Id., at 238. The appeal was transferred to our Supreme Court, which concluded that "the trial court had continuing jurisdiction to fashion a remedy appropriate to the vindication of a prior . . . judgment . . . pursuant to its inherent powers and that the time limitations imposed by 52-212a do not apply to the exercise of that jurisdiction. . . . The court's order to the defendant to modify and rescind the conditions of approval was an effectuation, not a modification, of its prior judgment and was, therefore, within its continuing jurisdiction." Id., at 239.