A.J.K. LLC v. City of Torrington, Inland Wetland Commission
When an inland-wetlands agency votes to extend a permit, it may not be allowed to add a condition to the terms of the original permit. In November 2009, the defendant inland-wetlands agency approved the plaintiff's permit to process earth products. The permit approved the "[p]rocessing of earth products from construction sites with no washing or excavation of native materials, [or] trucking within the upland regulated area." The permit added, "Limits of work are 100 feet from any wetlands soil and the existing haul road to the southwest." In early 2012, the inland-wetlands agency ordered the plaintiff to cease operations, because the plaintiff allegedly expanded the approved work area and cleared plantings in the buffer area. In May 2012, the inland-wetlands agency voted to continue the plaintiff's permit to excavate, provided that the plaintiff: 1.) refrained from use of the land between the haul road and the pond; 2.) permitted the area between the haul road and the pond to become fallow; and 3.) planted jersey barriers at intervals of 15 to 20 feet along the haul road. The plaintiff appealed and argued that the defendant inland-wetlands agency wrongly added conditions to the original permit. The defendant inland-wetlands agency claimed it merely clarified the conditions that already existed. The court found that the original permit did not discuss activity in the upland area. "[T]he defendant," wrote the court, "does not have the power to add a new condition to the plaintiff's permit that was not there in the original permit." It also was not clear that the inland-wetlands agency possessed the power to order that the plaintiff permit the upland area to become fallow. The court sustained the plaintiff's appeal, because the defendant inland-wetlands agency wrongly added new conditions to the original permit. The court remanded to the inland-wetlands agency, with instructions to suspend, revoke or continue the permit.