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Belford v. New Haven, City of

Citation: 7 ELR 20084
364 A.2d 194/170 Conn. 46, (Conn., 12/30/1976)

The court holds that plaintiffs, who are residents of New Haven, lack standing to bring an action under the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act of 1971 challenging municipal construction of an olympic-size rowing course and other facilities in two city parks. Three-quarters of the nearly 300 acres in the parks are classified as tidal wetlands. The city entered into an agreement with a private organization to construct a "mini-olympic" village for $10 million. The trial court found that the project would cause no permanent damage to wildlife in the area and no air pollution. Finding no error, the supreme court concludes that recreational construction is generally a proper park purpose. The question is not before the court, however, since the plaintiffs lack standing. Firstly, they are not threatened with damage distinct from that sustained by the general public. Secondly, plaintiffs do not have standing as taxpayers, having not proven pecuniary damage to themselves. Finally, and most important, the Environmental Protection Act, although one of its purposes is to confer standing on persons to bring actions to protect the environment, does not grant standing to persons to challenge municipal actions that do not directly threaten the public trust in natural resources.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Hans C. F. Wriedt
25 Sylvan Road South
Westport CT 06880
(203) 227-7256

Counsel for Defendants
Roger J. Frechette, Corporation Counsel
Charles G. Albom, Special Asst. Corporation Counsel
215 Church St.
New Haven CT 06510
(203) 865-2133

Before HOUSE, C.J., and LOISELLE, BOGDANSKI, LONGO and BARBER, JJ.