Judicial District of New Haven

      Zoning; Variances; Whether Zoning Board Properly Denied a Permit for a Plan Complying with Zoning Regulations but Differing Materially from that Presented in a Previously Approved Variance Application. In 2001, the plaintiffs submitted an application to the defendant zoning board of appeals (board) for a variance to replace their house on the footprint of the existing structure.  After the board granted the variance, the plaintiffs built the new structure.  In 2007, the plaintiffs applied to the town zoning enforcement officer for a certificate of zoning compliance to build a deck addition that would extend beyond the house's footprint but fully complied with the zoning regulations.  The zoning officer denied the application, stating that the plaintiffs were bound by their 2001 application and that any modifications to the building needed to be approved by the board.  The board upheld the zoning officer's denial, and the trial court affirmed the board's decision.  On appeal to the Appellate Court (127 Conn. App. 125), the court concluded that the plaintiffs did not need a new or modified variance to build their proposed deck since it fully complied with the zoning regulations and was not prohibited by any condition attached to the certificates of variances previously granted.  The court found that there was no condition placed on the certificates that would alert anyone that the plaintiffs or future owners of the property would be forever precluded from modifying the property in a manner that was inconsistent with the plans submitted with the variance application, even if such modifications fully complied with the zoning regulations.  Thus, the court reversed the judgment and remanded the case with direction to render judgment sustaining the plaintiffs’ appeal.  The Supreme Court granted certification to decide whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that a zoning board may not deny a permit for a plan that complies with local zoning regulations but differs materially from that presented in a previously approved variance application.