FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Kevin T. Mullane and Beechwood Gardens Tenant's Association,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-263

 

John Papandrea, Commissioner of the State of Connecticut Department of Housing and State of Connecticut Department of Housing,

 

Respondents January 27, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 17, 1987, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 of complaint received and filed with the Commission on September 4, 1987, the complainants alleged that the respondents held a secret or unnoticed meeting, failed to file an agenda for the secret or unnoticed meeting and failed to keep minutes of the meeting, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

3. At the hearing, the complainant stated that the secret or unnoticed meeting took place on March 4, 1985.

 

4. It is found that on March 4, 1985 a loan closing took place between the respondents and representatives of Beechwood Gardens Limited Partnership concerning the development of 82 units of moderate rental housing at Beechwood Gardens.

 

Docket #FIC 87-263 Page 2

 

5. At the closing, individuals representing Beechwood Gardens Limited Partnership and the respondent commissioner signed a regulatory agreement, a mortgage deed for $3,578,000 and a management agreement.

 

6. The complainants argue that the March 4, 1987 loan closing constituted a "secret meeting" of the respondents because a public hearing on both the development of the 82 units of moderate rental housing and the suitability of the proposed site was not held, as required by 8-74, G.S.

 

7. It is found that the Commission lacks jurisdiction with respect to 8-74, G.S.

 

8. It is concluded that the loan closing referred to at paragraphs 4 and 5, above, did not constitute a meeting of the respondents within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S., and that the failure to provide notice of such gathering did not violate any provision of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

2. It is regrettable that the respondents made no effort to elicit the opinions of area residents of Beechwood Gardens concerning the suitability of the proposed moderate income housing project, nor did they elicit the opinions of the residents concerning the changes that were made to the final proposal submitted by the Circle Company of Connecticut. In the future, the respondents should be more sensitive and responsive to the concerns and opinions of persons residing in areas targeted for their moderate rental housing program.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 27, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission