FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Stan Greenbaum,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 86-44

 

Paul Abbott, Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission of the Town of Kent; the Planning & Zoning Commission of the Town of Kent; and the Town of Kent,

 

Respondents March 26, 1986

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 6, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated January 30, 1986 the complainant made a request of the respondent chairman for the following documents:

 

a) "Chapters 124 and 126 and Chapter 44, Section 8-1b of the Connecticut General Statutes and Chapter 50, Title 42 and Title 42 of the United States Code 4022," as referred to in the Kent ordinance relating to the powers of the respondent commission;

 

b) A copy of a violation notice sent to Russell Frisbie, as referred to in the minutes of the respondent commission's July 10, 1985 meeting;

 

c) A copy of a letter sent to Mr. Frisbie by the respondent commission some time after August 14, 1985, as referred to in the minutes of the respondent commission's August 14, 1985 meeting.

 

3.     By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on February 18, 1986 the complainant alleged that the respondents had failed to provide him with the requested records. The complainant also alleged that he had been denied prompt access

 

Docket #FIC 86-44 Page Two

 

to certain minutes of the respondent commission, which allegation was the subject of FIC# 86-29, Stan Greenbaum v. Planning and Zoning Commission and Zoning Enforcement Officer of the Town of Kent, and will therefore not be treated here. The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

4. It is found that the respondents do not maintain copies of the Connecticut General Statutes nor of the federal statutes cited by the complainant. The respondents, upon request, referred the complainant to the Kent town hall, where he was able to obtain copies of the Connecticut General Statutes. Copies of the federal statutes cited were not available at the town hall.

 

5. The complainant claims that because the above-cited laws are included by reference in a Kent ordinance, the respondents must make copies of such laws available to the public.

 

6. It is found, however, that copies of the laws are not recorded data or information prepared, owned, used, received or retained by the respondents within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S. The respondents, therefore, did not violate 1-15, G.S. when they did not provide the complainant with copies of the requested statutes.

 

7. At hearing, the complainant was provided with a copy of the notice of violation sent to Mr. Frisbie. It is found that the respondents failed to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of the notice, in violation of 1-15, G.S.

 

8. The minutes of the respondent commission's August 14, 1985 meeting made reference to the possibility of sending Mr. Frisbie a notice of appreciation following his rectification of an alleged zoning ordinance. At hearing the respondents stated that no such letter was sent. The Commission notes, however, that the complainant was not notified that the proposed letter was never created.

 

9. The respondents claim that the notice of violation was withheld based upon the respondents' belief that disclosure of the notice was not required by the Freedom of Information Act.

 

10. It is found that the respondents' withholding of the notice regarding Mr. Frisbie was not based upon any exemption from disclosure contained in the Freedom of Information Act, other state statute or federal law. The Commission, however, does not deem appropriate the imposition of civil penalties, as requested by the complainant.

 

Docket #FIC 86-44 Page Three

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

1. The respondents shall henceforth act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-15, G.S. regarding the public's right to prompt access to copies of public records.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 26, 1986.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission