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Center Fights Roadway Change
by Ron Davis
A controversial traffic plan whose approval would create major problems for a Connecticut shopping center has hit a dead-end.
The shopping center is North Haven Pavilion. And proposing the traffic plan are owners of a shopping center under construction adjacent to North Haven Pavilion.
The controversy began when developers of the adjacent shopping center applied to North Haven planning and zoning authorities for a special permit. Approval of the permit would allow them to comply with local zoning regulations.
But the special permit also proposed changes in surrounding road patterns. One change would be the construction of a median in the center of a proposed roadway. That median, however, would apparently block the existing entry drive to North Haven Pavilion from incoming traffic from the north.
Yet another proposal would change the location of the main entry driveway of the new shopping center. That driveway would be offset from an existing drive to North Haven Pavilion’s property.
At a hearing into the matter, the owners of North Haven Pavilion tried to show the negative impact that would result from the road changes. As evidence, they presented a traffic study that illustrates that approval of the road-change plans would result in significant traffic congestion in the area.
But the North Haven Planning and Zoning Commission granted the proposals that North Haven Pavilion’s owners opposed.
The owners appealed, alleging that the Commission “acted illegally, arbitrarily, capriciously and in abuse of the discretion vested in it, and failed to state any reasons or the basis of its decision.”
A Connecticut court agreed with the North Haven Pavilion owners, noting the harm that the road changes would cause. Stated the judge, “The implementation of the special permit will permanently block the existing northerly entrance to the North Haven Pavilion property, which will obviously interfere with the traffic flow to that shopping center. Finally, it will cause buildings existing on that property that presently conform to the zoning regulations to become nonconforming…. Because the site plan approval [of the new shopping center] is dependent upon the upholding of the special permit, the appeal with respect to the site plan must also be sustained.” (North Haven Holdings Ltd. Partnership v. Town of North Haven Planning and Zoning Com’n, WL 626085 [Conn.Super.])
Decision: January 2010
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