Emerick v. Town of Glastonbury
Although abutting landowners are statutorily aggrieved in zoning cases, this action seeking a writ of mandamus and injunctive and declaratory relief to preserve a former mill located on town property, was not an administrative appeal from the decision of a zoning agency or a conservation commission and the fact that the plaintiff owned property abutting the mill, without more, was insufficient to confer standing. Roger Emerick brought this action against the Town of Glastonbury seeking to prevent the demolition of the former Slocomb Mill located on town property. Emerick owned property abutting the former mill and sought a writ of mandamus, injunctive and declaratory relief, to restore and preserve the mill property. The town filed several motions to dismiss the action, claiming that the action was premature, the plaintiff lacked standing, the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies and finally, while those motions were pending, a fourth motion also alleged that events had occurred that rendered the matter moot. The court held a hearing and, after learning that the mill had been demolished, dismissed the action as moot. The plaintiff appealed, pro se, claiming, inter alia, that the court improperly granted the motion on the ground of mootness and improperly failed to award him punitive damages for the town's conduct in demolishing the mill while his action was pending. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment without reaching the issues on appeal after concluding that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the action. The plaintiff's status as an abutting landowner did not automatically confer standing in this action. Although abutting landowners are statutorily aggrieved in zoning cases, this was not an administrative appeal from the decision of a zoning agency or a conservation commission. The plaintiff failed to allege a specific, personal and legal interest in the demolition of the mill that would be any different from the general interest all members of the community would share. The plaintiff also failed to sufficiently allege voter or taxpayer standing in his complaint. The complaint clearly did not allege facts that, if proven, would constitute aggrievement as a matter of law.