FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by CORRECTED FINAL DECISION

 

Imogene Fuller and Sharon Gabiga,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 88-493

 

John A. Crees, Laura Gosselin, Robert T. Grant, Jeffrey R. Smith, Frank Sofia, Irving Tourtellotte, Edward Greenwold and Lisbon Planning and Zoning Commission,

 

Respondents November 8, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 30, 1989, March 3, 1989, and May 26, 1989. At which times the complainants and respondents appeared and presented evidence and argument on the complaint.

 

On January 30, 1989, Riley Energy systems of Lisbon Corporation (Riley, hereinafter) and Regional Landfill Development of Lisbon, Inc. (RLDL, hereinafter) and Philip C. Armetta were granted party status.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1. The named respondents Crees, Gosselin, Grant, Smith, Sofia, Tourtellotte, Greenwold, and the Lisbon Planning and Zoning Commission are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By complaint received December 22, 1988, the complainants alleged that the respondents failed to record votes taken at their November 29, 1988 workshop, and that they failed to make a proper record of votes of the meeting. The complainants also requested that a civil penalty be imposed.

 

3. Respondents RLDL, Riley, and Armetta filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on April 11, 1989, alleging that the complainants failed to carry their burden of proof.

 

4. The respondents also objected to a letter of counsel for the FOIC dated April 3, 1989, claiming it was an improper order.

 

FIC# 88-493 Page 2

 

5. It is found that the letter was not an order but rather it set forth the course the proceedings would follow if a tape recording of the November 29, 1988 meeting was not made part of the record herein.

 

6. It is found that the respondents held a special meeting November 29, 1988 for two stated purposes:

 

(a) to continue discussion and review of the evidence provided at the public hearing that dealt with respondents Riley and RLDL.

 

(b) to continue review of the report from Consulting Environmental Engineers.

 

7. It is found that at the time of the November 29, 1988 meeting respondent Riley had applied for a special permit for construction of a Waste to Energy Resource Recovery Facility, and respondent RLDL had applied for a special permit for construction and operation of an ash monofil.

 

8. It is found that the workshop was one of several held for the purpose of developing conditions which would be included in any permits granted respondents Riley and RLDL.

 

9. It is found that the respondent Crees, who is chairman of the respondent commission, made the decision that no votes would be recorded or taken during the workshops, but that the workshops would be used to develop a consensus on the conditions which would be applied to the applications of respondents Riley and RLDL, if those applications were approved.

 

10. It is found that the workshop of November 29, 1988, included the development of agreements on specific conditions to apply if the pending applications of respondents Riley and RLDL were approved.

 

11. It is found that both the respondent Crees and the planner, who assisted the respondent commission, took notes on each condition agreed to by members of the respondent commission at the November 29, 1988, meeting.

 

12. It is found that several times during the meeting on November 29, 1988, the respondent Crees stated "We agree on this wording."

 

13. It is found that at the December 6, 1988 meeting the respondent commission voted to approve permits for Riley and

 

FIC# 88-493 Page 3

 

RLDL subject to certain conditions.

 

14. It is found that the conditions developed at the November 29, 1988 meeting and the earlier workshops were revised by the respondent chairman and the planner and were distributed to members of the respondent commission prior to its December 6, 1988, meeting.

 

15. It is found that all of the conditions agreed upon at the workshops, including the November 29, 1988 workshop, were adopted by the respondent commission at its December 6, 1988 meeting.

 

16. It is found that the agreements of the respondent commission which were developed at the November 29, 1988 workshop were, in effect, votes approving certain conditions for attachment to the permits granted respondents Riley and RLDL.

 

17. It is concluded that the respondent commission violated the requirement of 1-21, G.S., that it maintain a record of its votes by failing to reduce to writing its agreements on specific conditiions which were reached on November 29, 1988, and by failing to record such votes in the minutes of the November 29, 1988 meeting.

 

18. The motion to dismiss dated April ll, 1989 is hereby denied.

 

19. The complainants ask that the actions of the respondent commission be declared null and void and that a civil penalty be imposed upon the respondents.

 

20. It is found that it is not appropriate under the circumstances of this case to declare the actions of the respondent commission null and void.

 

21. It is found that the failure of the respondent commission to provide a record of its votes and to keep adequate minutes are serious violations because citizens in Lisbon were deprived of knowledge of the work of the respondent commission on permits for facilities which may have long term consequences for the quality of life of residents of the town.

 

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

 

1. Henceforth the respondent commission shall comply strictly with the provisions of 1-21, G.S.

 

2. The respondent commission shall cause to be posted in the office of the clerk a copy of the Final Decision in this case for a period of not less than 60 days.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 8, 1989.

 

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission


FIC# 88-493 Page 5

 

PURSUANT TO 4-180(c) C.G.S THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE F.O.I.C., OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

IMOGENE FULLER AND SHARON GABIGA, 363 South Burnham Highway,

Lisbon, CT 06351

 

JOHN A. CREES, LAURA GOSSELIN, ROBERT T. GRANT, JEFFREY SMITH, FRANK SOFIA, IRVING TOURTELLOTTE, EDWARD GREENWOLD AND LISBON PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION, c/o John R. Fitzgerald, Esquire, Brown, Jacobson, Jewett & Laudone, P.C., 22 Courthouse Square, Norwich, CT 06360

 

INTERVENORS: RILEY ENERGY SYSTEMS OF LISBON CORPORATION, REGIONAL LANDFILL DEVELOPMENT OF LISBON, INC. AND PHILIP C. ARMETTA, c/o Nicholas J. Harding, Esquire, Adams & Harding, 163 College Street, Middletown, CT 06457

 

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission