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River Sound Dev., LLC v. Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Comm'n of Old Saybrook

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20205
Nos. No. AC 30042, (Conn. App. Ct., 07/27/2010)

A Connecticut appellate court upheld a local wetlands commission decision denying a developer's application to construct 221 residential housing units, a golf course, a roadway network, associated structures, and infrastructure improvements on a 934-acre piece of property. The land contains 114.5 acres of wetlands. The developer argued that the denial should be reversed because the commission improperly exercised jurisdiction over activities not occurring within a wetland or watercourse or within 100 feet of a wetland or watercourse and over impacts to species. But the commission found regulated activities within the 100 foot upland review area that impacted wetlands and watercourses. This is sufficient for the commission to have jurisdiction under the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act. Nor did the commission improperly exercise jurisdiction over impacts to species. There was substantial evidence in the record that the loss of wood frogs would have a negative consequential effect on the physical characteristics of the wetlands, which falls squarely within the commission’s jurisdiction. In addition, the commission’s denial of the application, as well as its finding that the developer had not sufficiently established the absence of prudent and feasible alternative uses for the property, was supported by the evidence.