West Avenue LLC v. Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Norwalk
A zoning board of appeals can approve a nonconforming use that is equally or more appropriate than a previous nonconforming use. In or about June 2011, Capital Equities West Avenue LLC applied for a special exception, to change a pre-existing, nonconforming business office in Norwalk to a nonconforming pharmacy and medical clinic. Capital Equities claimed that the office use was nonconforming, because the zoning regulations only permitted 50 percent of the first floor of the building to be used for offices, and 100 percent of the first floor was used for offices. Capital Equities proposed to use approximately 25 percent of the first floor as a pharmacy and the remainder of the first floor for a medical clinic. The defendant zoning board of appeals approved. The plaintiff appealed. There was no evidence in the record that the change in use required structural alterations. The court rejected the plaintiff's claim that the ZBA was required to consider the cost of converting one nonconforming use to another nonconforming use. The court also rejected the plaintiff's argument that the ZBA wrongly enlarged the pre-existing, nonconforming use. Substantial evidence supported the ZBA's conclusion that the proposed nonconforming use was equally or more appropriate than the pre-existing nonconforming use. The court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal.