FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Kathy A. Velky,
against Docket #FIC 95-139
Woodbury Building Department and Director
of Health, Pomperaug District Department of Health,
Respondents November 22, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 5, 1995, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The case was consolidated for hearing with docket #FIC 95-76, Kathy A. Velky v. Woodbury Building Department and Woodbury Director of Public Works. The respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss prior to the hearing and requested the imposition of civil penalties against the complainant for the filing of a frivolous appeal and reimbursement for their legal fees.
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 letter dated April 18, 1995, the complainant requested that the respondent building department provide her with copies of the "necessary documentation in order for Mr. Stockwell to obtain building permits #1845 (1-23-81) and #5550 (1-23-95)," including:
a) the builder's application or complete building
b) the sanitary permit;
c) the driveway permit;
d) the prerequisite forms pertaining to (1) sewage and
potable water certification and (2) zoning and
public works applications;
e) all records of private sewage disposal; and
f) any plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits.
#FIC 95-139 Page 2
3. By two separate letters dated April 7, 1995, the complainant requested that the respondent director of health provide her with "the necessary documentation that must be obtained and on file within your department" for the owner of 27 Peter Road, Woodbury, Connecticut, to have received approval for a sanitary permit relative to building permits #1845 and #5550, including:
a) applications for change of use;
b) applications for building additions;
c) applications for a permit to construct or repair a
sewage disposal system;
d) application for septic/well certification;
e) application for the review of a subsurface disposal
f) percolation tests;
g) application for soil testing;
h) drawings of septic system;
i) any necessary reports or other documentation on file
pertaining to septic or sanitary permits;
j) any certification reports;
k) a copy of the permit itself;
l) the potable water certification;
m) the well permit;
n) any other documentation or records regarding the
installation of the well; and
o) the site drawing of all general data.
4. By letter dated and filed April 27, 1995, the complainant appealed to the Commission and alleged that the respondents failed to comply with her requests.
5. It is found that the records that the respondents maintain which are responsive to the complainant's request are public records within the meaning of 1-18(a)(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
6. It is found that in response to the complainant's request of April 18, 1995, a representative of the respondent building department telephoned the complainant on April 20, 1995, and informed her that any records contained within its file for 27 Peter Road were available to her, but that he believed she already had copies of the entire file.
7. It is found that on April 21, 1995, the complainant visited the respondent building department's offices and obtained copies of: Prerequisite forms for (1) sewage and potable water certification and (2) zoning and public works applications; the sanitary permit; and one page of a builder's application, which the complainant alleges should be a four page document.
#FIC 95-139 Page 3
8. It is found that the respondent building department does not maintain any record of private sewage disposal and does not maintain any of the driveway, plumbing, electrical or mechanical permits requested by the complainant.
9. It is found that the respondent building department made all files which it maintains available to the complainant for inspection and photocopying on April 21, 1995, but that certain records requested by the complainant do not exist.
10. It is found that by letter dated April 12, 1995, the respondent director of health responded to the complainant's request by inviting her to visit the district of health's office at any time, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., to inspect and copy any records contained within its file for 27 Peter Road at a cost of 25 cents per page.
11. It is found that the respondent director of health made his entire file for 27 Peter Road available to the complainant, but that the only requested record contained therein was an application for soil testing.
12. It is further found that the other records requested from the respondent director of health do not exist.
13. It is further found that the gravamen of the complainant's appeal is her claim that the respondents do not maintain certain records which she asserts they are legally required to maintain.
14. Although the Commission finds the allegations described in paragraph 13, above, to be troubling, it is concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction to address the content or adequacy of the records maintained by the respondents.
15. It is concluded that under the facts of this case, the respondents did not violate the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
16. It is found that the complainant's appeal was filed, in part, due to her misunderstanding of the Commission's jurisdiction and that such appeal was not taken without reasonable cause. Therefore, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of civil penalties against the complainant.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
#FIC 95-139 Page 4
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
2. The Commission refers the complainant to the State Codes and Standards Committee of the Division of Public Safety, which is the appropriate forum to address her complaints concerning the adequacy of the respondents' records.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 22, 1995.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 95-139 Page 5
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Kathy A. Velky
626 Washington Road
Woodbury, CT 06798
Woodbury Building Department and Woodbury Director of Public Works
c/o Marianne B. Dubuque, Esq.
Carmody & Torrance
50 Leavenworth Street
P.O. Box 1110
Waterbury, CT 06721-1110
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission