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Connecticut Land Use Litigation Attorneys
Hartford Connecticut Lawyers Practicing in the area of Land Use Litigation
In recent years, the Civil Rights Act has been extended beyond claims involving unlawful law enforcement activity to protect against wrongful state action involving property rights. These types of land use lawsuits include a wide range of illegal action such as conduct by zoning boards causing damage to land developers, as well as misuse of the condemnation power by state or municipal authorities resulting in damage to private homeowners.
A person's home is his castle. . . or at least it should be. A present example of a case involving this fundamental America right in which our law firm is involved concerns a group of homeowners on the Connecticut shore line, where the reality is anything but. In communities on the shore or on inland lakes where people come for the summer, town boards have tried to take away the rights of some homeowners to use their properties whenever they want. As a result homeowners robbed of their property rights have found themselves unable to enjoy their land when they want to, unable to rent their houses to other people, and unable to find financing or buyers for their property, even though they pay taxes and are good citizens.
The United States Constitution guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property by federal, state, or local governments without due process of law. Just as the town you live in cannot simply take your car or bulldoze your house without a legal reason to do so or without giving you a meaningful opportunity to defend your rights, the town cannot simply revoke your right to use your property without a good reason and a proper hearing.
Our firm represents a group of homeowners in two communities where seasonal land use restrictions bar homeowners from use of their homes during the fall and winter months.
In one case our firm brought suit on behalf of residents of the Town of Old Lyme's beach community seeking class action status on behalf of approximately 2,000 homeowners.
That town had created an arbitrary process which forced owners of certain properties in certain parts of town to prove to the town that they deserved to keep the right to use their homes when they wanted to. Such homeowners are denied access to their homes, although they pay the same taxes as other, more "preferred" homeowners. As if that is not outrageous enough, other owners in the same district had cut a secret deal with the town which exempted them from the burden of having to apply to keep their rights. The homeowners who lost their rights due to the town's unconstitutional practices hired our firm to enforce their civil rights in federal court, seeking an order from the court forcing the town to stop interfering with their property rights.
More recently we have been retained by members of the Lebanon Lakes Association comprised of several hundred homeowners residing in three area lakes suffering from seasonal use restrictions similar to those imposed by the Town of Old Lyme.
We are presently reviewing similar claims of this type in other communities and are available to meet with anyone damaged by similar illegal conduct who wish to know more.