Marenna v. North Haven Zoning Board of Appeals
An owner's conduct in filling in the foundation of one of two contiguous lots can indicate that the owner probably intended to merge the lots and to treat them as a single lot. The plaintiff, David Marenna, owns a .34-acre property with a single-family residence in North Haven. Marenna claimed that he actually owned two contiguous lots, and he requested a building permit. The zoning enforcement officer concluded that the lots merged, and that there was only one building lot. The zoning board of appeals affirmed. The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court. "[W]hether a merger of contiguous parcels of land has occurred depends on the intention of the owner," pursuant to Carbone v. Vigliotti, a 1992 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. The Superior Court found that the 1924 subdivision map indicated that there were two contiguous lots. Although an early owner built a foundation on the second parcel, a second single-family residence was not built, perhaps because of the Great Depression. Later, an owner filled in the foundation of the second lot. In 1956, the municipality included the property on the municipal Grand List as a single lot. The court found that the previous owner who filled in the foundation of the second lot probably intended to merge the lots and to use them as a single lot. "The ZBA's conclusion," wrote the court, "that a merger had occurred was legally and logically correct." The court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal.