Summit Street Development LLC v. Planning and Zoning Commission Town of Stonington; Summit Street Development LLC v. Zoning Board of Appeals Town of Stonington
Exclusion of the minimum lot area from commercial zoning bulk requirements that permit the continuance of a nonconforming lot may be improper. The plaintiff limited liability company requested a special permit to construct a dentist’s office on Mason’s Island Road in Stonington, Conn. The subject property is located in an M-1 zone, which is nonresidential and has a minimum lot size of 80,000 square feet. The plaintiff’s property is nonconforming and has 41,742 square feet. The defendant planning and zoning commission denied the plaintiff’s application, because the plaintiff did not obtain a variance. The plaintiff appealed and argued that the decision was arbitrary, illegal and an abuse of discretion. The zoning regulations provides, "Lawful uses or bulk in existence and not conforming to these Regulations on the effective date of these Regulations or on the effective date of amendments to these Regulations are non-conforming and may be continued." The regulations add, "Bulk regulations include regulations dealing with floor area ratio, building height, lot area per dwelling unit, lot frontage, lot width, required yard, courts, useable open space, space in between buildings on a single lot and lengths of buildings in a row." The court found that the planning and zoning commission apparently found that the omission of minimum lot area from the regulations that govern commercial and industrial zone bulk requirements indicated an intent to exclude minimum lot area from the types of nonconforming parcels that are protected. The planning and zoning commission’s interpretation led to an "unreasonable and bizarre result." The planning and zoning commission wrongly excluded the minimum lot area from the commercial and industrial zone bulk requirements, and the court sustained the plaintiff’s appeal.