FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Mr. and Mrs. Leonard M. Heine, Jr.

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 89-306

 

Weston Board of Selectmen, Weston Town Administrator and Weston Planning and Zoning Commission

 

Respondents October 11, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 25, 1989, 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 and conclusions of law are reached:

 

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

 

2. By letters dated July 11, 1989 and hand-delivered to the respondents on July 13, 1989, the complainants requested, among other items, copies of communications or documents submitted by the respondent Board of Selectmen to the respondent Planning and Zoning Commission (hereinafter "P&Z commission") concerning a proposed accessway to Keene Park.

 

3. By letter dated July 20, 1989 and filed with this Commission on July 24, 1989, the complainants alleged the following:

 

a. Their requests for public records were denied;

 

b. On July 17, 1989, the respondent P&Z commission deviated from its written agenda in violation of 1-21(a), G.S. by considering the Keene Park agenda item out of order; and

 

c. The respondent P&Z commission's refusal to reconsider its vote on the Keene Park proposal following the complainants' comments effectively denied the complainants of notice to which they are entitled under 1-21(a), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 89-306 Page 2

 

4. At hearing, the complainants withdrew their complaints against the respondent Board of Selectmen and the respondent Town Administrator.

 

5. Also at hearing, the complainants withdrew those portions of their complaint against the respondent P&Z commission concerning the disclosure of records only.

 

6. It is found that on July 17, 1989 a regular meeting (hereinafter "meeting") of the respondent P&Z commission was scheduled to begin at 8 o'clock p.m. and that an agenda for the meeting was made available at least 24 hours prior to that time.

 

7. It is found that the meeting convened at approximately 8:02 p.m.

 

8. It is found that the agenda contained items, listed in a vertical column, for inclusion at the meeting.

 

9. It is found that no new items of business not listed on the agenda were taken up at the meeting.

 

10. It is found that the items listed on the agenda were neither numbered nor assigned specific time periods for that evening.

 

11. It is found that individuals appearing before the respondent P&Z commission sometimes request the order of their business to be adjusted, and that the respondent's practice is to allow for items on its agendas to be heard out of sequence for purposes of time efficiency and convenience.

 

12. It is found that at the outset of the meeting, the respondent P&Z commission's chairman requested that the Keene Park matter be taken up first as a courtesy to the town administrator who had to drive approximately 62 miles following this portion of the meeting.

 

13. It is found that there was no objection to considering the Keene Park matter at the outset of the meeting by anyone present when approval to do so was requested by the respondent P&Z commission's chairman.

 

14. It is found that the Keene Park proposal was approved by the respondent P&Z commission prior to the arrival of the complainants or their attorney at the meeting.

 

15. It is found that prior to the conclusion of the meeting, the complainants and the complainants' attorney were permitted to address the respondent concerning the Keene Park

 

Docket #FIC 89-306 Page 3

 

proposal approved earlier in the meeting, but that the respondent declined to take further action on the matter following those additional comments.

 

16. This Commission notes that late arrival at a public meeting is done at the risk of that late arriver who chances missing those portions of that meeting of interest to him or her.

 

17. It is concluded that the complainants have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under 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.

 

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:

MR. AND MRS. LEONARD M. HEINE, JR.

c/o Stephen M. Moore, Esquire

Cohen and Wolf, P.C.

1115 Broad Street

P.O. Box 1821

Bridgeport, CT 06601

 

WESTON BOARD OF SELECTMEN, WESTON TOWN ADMINISTRATOR AND WESTON PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION

c/o Louis Ciccarello, Esquire

Lovejoy, Hefferan, Rimer, and Cuneo, P.C.

148 East Avenue

P.O. Box 390

Norwalk, CT 06852

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 11, 1989.

 

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission