2012 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 8 - Zoning, Planning, Housing and Economic and Community Development
Chapter 124 - Zoning
Section 8-2 - Regulations.
(a) The zoning commission of each city, town or borough is authorized to regulate, within the limits of such municipality, the height, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures; the percentage of the area of the lot that may be occupied; the size of yards, courts and other open spaces; the density of population and the location and use of buildings, structures and land for trade, industry, residence or other purposes, including water-dependent uses, as defined in section 22a-93, and the height, size and location of advertising signs and billboards. Such bulk regulations may allow for cluster development, as defined in section 8-18. Such zoning commission may divide the municipality into districts of such number, shape and area as may be best suited to carry out the purposes of this chapter; and, within such districts, it may regulate the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration or use of buildings or structures and the use of land. All such regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of buildings, structures or use of land throughout each district, but the regulations in one district may differ from those in another district, and may provide that certain classes or kinds of buildings, structures or uses of land are permitted only after obtaining a special permit or special exception from a zoning commission, planning commission, combined planning and zoning commission or zoning board of appeals, whichever commission or board the regulations may, notwithstanding any special act to the contrary, designate, subject to standards set forth in the regulations and to conditions necessary to protect the public health, safety, convenience and property values. Such regulations shall be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan and in adopting such regulations the commission shall consider the plan of conservation and development prepared under section 8-23. Such regulations shall be designed to lessen congestion in the streets; to secure safety from fire, panic, flood and other dangers; to promote health and the general welfare; to provide adequate light and air; to prevent the overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population and to facilitate the adequate provision for transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements. Such regulations shall be made with reasonable consideration as to the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses and with a view to conserving the value of buildings and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout such municipality. Such regulations may, to the extent consistent with soil types, terrain, infrastructure capacity and the plan of conservation and development for the community, provide for cluster development, as defined in section 8-18, in residential zones. Such regulations shall also encourage the development of housing opportunities, including opportunities for multifamily dwellings, consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity, for all residents of the municipality and the planning region in which the municipality is located, as designated by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management under section 16a-4a. Such regulations shall also promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing, including housing for both low and moderate income households, and shall encourage the development of housing which will meet the housing needs identified in the state’s consolidated plan for housing and community development prepared pursuant to section 8-37t and in the housing component and the other components of the state plan of conservation and development prepared pursuant to section 16a-26. Zoning regulations shall be made with reasonable consideration for their impact on agriculture, as defined in subsection (q) of section 1-1. Zoning regulations may be made with reasonable consideration for the protection of historic factors and shall be made with reasonable consideration for the protection of existing and potential public surface and ground drinking water supplies. On and after July 1, 1985, the regulations shall provide that proper provision be made for soil erosion and sediment control pursuant to section 22a-329. Such regulations may also encourage energy-efficient patterns of development, the use of solar and other renewable forms of energy, and energy conservation. The regulations may also provide for incentives for developers who use passive solar energy techniques, as defined in subsection (b) of section 8-25, in planning a residential subdivision development. The incentives may include, but not be limited to, cluster development, higher density development and performance standards for roads, sidewalks and underground facilities in the subdivision. Such regulations may provide for a municipal system for the creation of development rights and the permanent transfer of such development rights, which may include a system for the variance of density limits in connection with any such transfer. Such regulations may also provide for notice requirements in addition to those required by this chapter. Such regulations may provide for conditions on operations to collect spring water or well water, as defined in section 21a-150, including the time, place and manner of such operations. No such regulations shall prohibit the operation of any family day care home or group day care home in a residential zone. No such regulations shall prohibit the use of receptacles for the storage of items designated for recycling in accordance with section 22a-241b or require that such receptacles comply with provisions for bulk or lot area, or similar provisions, except provisions for side yards, rear yards and front yards. No such regulations shall unreasonably restrict access to or the size of such receptacles for businesses, given the nature of the business and the volume of items designated for recycling in accordance with section 22a-241b, that such business produces in its normal course of business, provided nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit such regulations from requiring the screening or buffering of such receptacles for aesthetic reasons. Such regulations shall not impose conditions and requirements on manufactured homes having as their narrowest dimension twenty-two feet or more and built in accordance with federal manufactured home construction and safety standards or on lots containing such manufactured homes which are substantially different from conditions and requirements imposed on single-family dwellings and lots containing single-family dwellings. Such regulations shall not impose conditions and requirements on developments to be occupied by manufactured homes having as their narrowest dimension twenty-two feet or more and built in accordance with federal manufactured home construction and safety standards which are substantially different from conditions and requirements imposed on multifamily dwellings, lots containing multifamily dwellings, cluster developments or planned unit developments. Such regulations shall not prohibit the continuance of any nonconforming use, building or structure existing at the time of the adoption of such regulations. Such regulations shall not provide for the termination of any nonconforming use solely as a result of nonuse for a specified period of time without regard to the intent of the property owner to maintain that use. Any city, town or borough which adopts the provisions of this chapter may, by vote of its legislative body, exempt municipal property from the regulations prescribed by the zoning commission of such city, town or borough; but unless it is so voted municipal property shall be subject to such regulations.
(b) In any municipality that is contiguous to Long Island Sound the regulations adopted under this section shall be made with reasonable consideration for restoration and protection of the ecosystem and habitat of Long Island Sound and shall be designed to reduce hypoxia, pathogens, toxic contaminants and floatable debris in Long Island Sound. Such regulations shall provide that the commission consider the environmental impact on Long Island Sound of any proposal for development.
(c) In any municipality where a traprock ridge, as defined in section 8-1aa, or an amphibolite ridge, as defined in section 8-1aa, is located the regulations may provide for development restrictions in ridgeline setback areas, as defined in said section. The regulations may restrict quarrying and clear cutting, except that the following operations and uses shall be permitted in ridgeline setback areas, as of right: (1) Emergency work necessary to protect life and property; (2) any nonconforming uses that were in existence and that were approved on or before the effective date of regulations adopted under this section; and (3) selective timbering, grazing of domesticated animals and passive recreation.
(1949 Rev., S. 837; November, 1955, S. N10; 1959, P.A. 614, S. 2; 661; 1961, P.A. 569; 1963, P.A. 133; 1967, P.A. 801; P.A. 77-509, S. 1; P.A. 78-314, S. 1; P.A. 80-327, S. 1; P.A. 81-334, S. 2; P.A. 83-388, S. 6, 9; P.A. 84-263; P.A. 85-91, S. 2, 5; 85-279, S. 3; P.A. 87-215, S. 1, 7; 87-232; 87-474, S. 1; 87-490, S. 1; P.A. 88-105, S. 2; 88-203, S. 1; P.A. 89-277, S. 1; P.A. 91-170, S. 1; 91-392, S. 1; 91-395, S. 1, 11; P.A. 92-50; P.A. 93-385, S. 3; P.A. 95-239, S. 2; 95-335, S. 14, 26; P.A. 97-296, S. 2, 4; P.A. 98-105, S. 3; P.A. 10-87, S. 4; P.A. 11-124, S. 2; 11-188, S. 3.)
History: 1959 acts required that regulations be uniform for use of land in district and authorized requirement of special permits or exceptions; 1961 act deleted provision authorizing reconstruction of nonconforming structure destroyed or damaged by fire or casualty provided cost be less than 50% of fair market value of property and reconstruction be commenced within six months; 1963 act allowed municipality to exempt municipal property from zoning regulations; 1967 act specified that special acts contrary to provision re special permits or special exceptions have no bearing; P.A. 77-509 allowed considerations of historic factors, sedimentation control and erosion in zoning regulations; P.A. 78-314 allowed regulations to encourage energy-efficient development, energy conservation and use of renewable forms of energy; P.A. 80-327 allowed consideration of water supply protection; P.A. 81-334 authorized regulations to provide for incentives for developers using passive solar energy techniques; P.A. 83-388 required provision be made for soil erosion and sediment control, effective July 1, 1985; P.A. 84-263 provided the regulations shall encourage the development of housing opportunities for all citizens of the municipality consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity (Revisor’s note: P.A. 84-263, which took effect on October 1, 1984, incorporated the amendment enacted by P.A. 83-388, but the Revisors are of the opinion that (1) this in no way changed the July 1, 1985, effective date of the 1983 act, and (2) the further amendment in the 1984 act took effect on October 1, 1984); P.A. 85-91 specified the date by which provision for soil erosion and sediment control is required; P.A. 85-279 made consideration of the protection of surface water and groundwater mandatory where before it had been discretionary; P.A. 87-215 authorized regulations to provide for additional notice requirements; P.A. 87-232 provided that no regulations shall prohibit the operation of any family day care home or group day care home in a residential zone; P.A. 87-474 clarified authority to regulate water-dependent uses; P.A. 87-490 inserted provisions concerning creation and transfer of development rights; P.A. 88-105 required zoning regulations to be made with reasonable consideration for their impact on agriculture; P.A. 88-203 added provisions re imposition of conditions and requirements on certain manufactured homes and developments to be occupied by certain manufactured homes; P.A. 89-277 added provision specifying that the regulations shall not provide for the termination of a nonconforming use solely as a result of nonuse without regard to intent; P.A. 91-170 designated existing language as Subsec. (a) and added Subsec. (b) re regulations in municipalities contiguous to Long Island Sound; P.A. 91-392 required regulations to encourage opportunities for multifamily dwellings for residents of municipality and planning region, to promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing and to encourage housing development consistent with the state housing plan and the state plan of conservation and development; P.A. 91-395 authorized adoption of regulations under this section to provide for cluster development; P.A. 92-50 amended Subsec. (a) to eliminate reference to adoption of regulations in accordance with the comprehensive plan and substituted consideration of the plan of development in lieu thereof; P.A. 93-385 amended Subsec. (a) by requiring that regulations be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan; P.A. 95-239 added Subsec. (c) re development restrictions in ridgeline setback areas (Revisor’s note: Uppercase alphabetic Subdiv. indicators were replaced editorially by the Revisors with numeric indicators for consistency with customary statutory usage); P.A. 95-335 amended Subsec. (a) to change “plan of development” to “plan of conservation and development”, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 97-296 amended Subsec. (a) to allow regulations to provide for conditions on operations to collect spring or well water, effective July 8, 1997; P.A. 98-105 amended Subsec. (c) to provide for protection of amphibolite ridgelines; P.A. 10-87 amended Subsec. (a) by making technical changes and adding provision prohibiting regulations from prohibiting use of receptacles for storage of items designated for recycling or requiring such receptacles to comply with provisions for bulk or lot area and prohibiting regulations from unreasonably restricting access to or size of such receptacles for businesses; P.A. 11-124 amended Subsec. (a) by replacing “housing plan” with “state’s consolidated plan for housing and community development”; P.A. 11-188 amended Subsec. (a) by adding reference to Sec. 1-1(q) re definition of “agriculture”.
Cited. 6 CA 237. Violation of uniformity requirement of statute by creation of a buffer area discussed. Id., 686. Cited. 7 CA 684; 10 CA 190; 12 CA 90; 13 CA 159; Id., 448; Id., 699; 15 CA 110; 16 CA 303. Zoning power “to regulate” under section does not include power “to prohibit” unless prohibition is supported by a rational relation to purposes of zoning. 17 CA 17; judgment reversed, see 212 C. 570. Cited. 19 CA 334; 21 CA 538; 24 CA 5; Id., 526; 25 CA 375; Id., 392; judgment reversed, see 222 C. 607; 26 CA 212; 28 CA 314; 30 CA 627; 31 CA 643; 35 CA 594; Id., 820; 36 CA 98; 37 CA 303; 40 CA 501. Reiterated previous holdings that regulation of uses of land, like regulations for classes of buildings and structures, must be uniform and use of special exceptions authorized. 85 CA 820. Planned development district under special act not authorized under statute since no uniform standards for applications. Id. Test of commission’s action is twofold: (1) The zone change must be in accord with a comprehensive plan and (2) it must be reasonably related to normal police power purposes enumerated in section. Only where local zoning authority has acted arbitrarily or illegally and thus abused the discretion vested in it can courts grant relief on appeal. 99 CA 768.
Standards by which regulations are to be scrutinized. 15 CS 485. Change of zone classification of large lot in center of residential area to business is spot zoning. 16 CS 189. Cited. Id., 328. Where zoning ordinance attempted to zone by individual pieces of property, held not in accordance with comprehensive plan. Id., 422. Power of zoning commission to fix minimum lot sizes and minimum floor areas upheld. 19 CS 24. Cited. Id., 447. Omission of any direct mention of a mobile home park as a permitted use of land anywhere in a town does not render zoning law void or unconstitutional. 21 CS 275. In order to qualify as nonconforming use, use must be in existence when ordinance goes into effect or in such a state of preparation that it is naturally recognized in neighborhood as such a use. Id. Restrictive covenant and zoning restrictions are two entirely separate and unrelated limitations on use of property. Where deeds to all lots sold under general development scheme contain same restrictive covenants, each grantee is entitled to enforce them in absence of conduct on his part constituting laches, waiver or abandonment. 22 CS 235. Nonconforming use may be increased in extent by natural expansion and growth. 24 CS 221. Cited. 25 CS 277. Zoning commission has no statutory power to enact ordinance limiting occupancy of certain areas to elderly persons. 26 CS 128. To change nonconforming business use to nonconforming liquor use is an increase in use and zoning board of appeals acted arbitrarily, illegally and in abuse of discretion in denying plaintiff’s appeal. Id., 457. Refusal of zoning variance to permit use of plaintiff’s property as gasoline station, its claimed best use, was not an unconstitutional confiscation of property. Id., 475. Change of zone dependent for proper functioning on action by other agencies over which zoning commission has no control cannot be sustained unless action appears not a possibility but a probability. Id., 503. Community as a whole must benefit from commission action. Id. Regulation of defendant zoning commission requiring gasoline station sites to be 1,500 feet apart is an exercise of police power which plaintiff failed to prove unreasonable or confiscatory of his property’s value. 27 CS 362. Cited. 30 CS 157, 164; 32 CS 217; 34 CS 177; 35 CS 246. Statute provides no authority to planning and zoning commissions to modify statutes under which they acquire authority. 36 CS 281. Cited. 39 CS 436; 41 CS 196; Id., 593; 42 CS 256; 43 CS 373.
Zoning commission amendment to town’s zoning regulations satisfied the uniformity requirements of Subsec. and was reasonably related to balancing conservation and development. 259 C. 402. Soil contamination issue not limited to review of site plan application but also relevant to adoption of proposed text amendment because Subsec. requires regulations to “promote health and general welfare”. 271 C. 1. That Subsec. explicitly authorizes special permits demonstrates that legislature itself recognized the need for exceptions to uniformity, and, therefore, complete uniformity was not mandated. 281 C. 66. Subdivision of property into more than 30 residential lots that otherwise comply with applicable zoning regulations is not a distinct “use of land” subject to special permit regulations under Subsec. 288 C. 730.
Implicitly requires uniform enforcement of zoning regulations. 49 CA 669. Use of property as gasoline station was not a preexisting, nonconforming use. 74 CA 622. Does not necessarily confer authority in zoning commission to promulgate regulations re noise pollution and does not contradict legislature’s specific enactment in Sec. 22a-67 et seq. 76 CA 199.
Cited. 36 CS 98.
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