Cioffoletti v. Planning & Zoning Commission (1991)

In Cioffoletti v. Planning & Zoning Commission, 24 Conn. App. 5, 7-8, 584 A.2d 1200 (1991), a town adopted a regulation that limited the time that excavation activities would be allowed. The plaintiffs, sand and gravel business operators, challenged the regulation, arguing that it would force them to cease use of their property before they otherwise would do so. The defendant in Cioffoletti argued that the plaintiffs' action was premature until such time as they were actually denied a permit. This court disagreed that "an appealable issue did not exist until the plaintiffs were actually denied a permit upon reapplication at the end of four years." Id., 7. Although Cioffoletti is not an aggrievement case, the Court held that the law did not require a property owner to defer a challenge to a regulation's validity until an administrative agency denied an application for a permit. The Ridgefield planning and zoning commission made all preexisting nonconforming sand and gravel businesses subject to a special permit. The special permit procedure that the town implemented effectively put a halt to all sand and gravel operations within four years from the date of issuance of the permit. This court found that the procedure in effect violated General Statutes 8-2, which dictates that "such regulations shall not prohibit the continuance of any nonconforming use . . . existing at the time of the adoption of such regulation. . . ." The Cioffoletti court went on to say: "It is readily apparent that the rule concerning the continuance of a nonconforming use protects the right of a user to continue the same use of the property as it existed before the date of the adoption of the zoning regulations. Helbig v. Zoning Commission, 185 Conn. 294, 306, 440 A.2d 940 (1981)." Cioffoletti v. Planning & Zoning Commission, supra, 24 Conn. App. 8.