FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Fairfield Resources Management, Inc. and Rock Acquisition Limited Partnership,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1997-288

Stanley Kurpiewski, Chairman, Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission; John Smoliga; George A. Chaber; and James A. Blake as Members, Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission; and Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission,

 

 

Respondents

March 11, 1998

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 8, 1997, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, this case was consolidated with Docket #FIC1997-289, Fairfield Resources Management, Inc. and Rock Acquisition Limited Partnership v. Stanley Kurpiewski, Chairman, Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission; John Smoliga; George A. Chaber; and James A. Blake as Members, Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission; and Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission.

        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(1), G.S. (prior to October 1, 1997, 1-18a(a), G.S.).

        2. By letter dated November 14, 1996, and pursuant to 1-21c, G.S., the complainants asked the respondent chairman for notice "of each and every meeting of the Brookfield Zoning Commission on matters concerning Fairfield Resources and the property known as 78 Laurel Mountain Road, Brookfield, Connecticut…."

        3. Section 1-21c, G.S., in relevant part states that a public agency:

…shall, where practicable, give notice by mail of each regular meeting, and of any special meeting which is called, at least one week prior to the date set for the meeting, to any person who has filed a written request for such notice with such body, except that such body may give such notice as it deems practical of special meetings called less than seven days prior to the date set for the meeting…. Any request for notice filed pursuant to this section shall be valid for one year from the date on which it is filed unless a renewal request is filed. Renewal requests for notice shall be filed within thirty days after January first of each year. Such public agency may establish a reasonable charge for sending such notice based on the estimated cost of providing such service.

        4. By letter dated September 8, 1997, and filed with the Commission on September 10, 1997, the complainants alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to give the complainants timely notice of the August 11, 1997, and August 25, 1997 meetings of the respondent commission. The complainants asked that any action taken by the respondent commission at its August 11, 1997, and August 25, 1997 meetings regarding the complainants be declared null and void. Additionally, the complainants asked for the imposition of civil penalties.

        5. The respondents contend that the letter referenced in paragraph 2, above, was deficient in that it asked for notice of the meetings of a separate commission and that the property cited therein by the complainants is an incorrect address having no association with the complainants. Accordingly, the respondents contend that they were not obliged by 1-21c, G.S., to comply with the complainants’ request and therefore could not have violated such statute.

        6. The complainants contend that the errors contained in the letter referenced in paragraph 2, above, were clerical in nature and that such errors were subsequently corrected. The complainants filed a motion to reopen the hearing in order to introduce documentary evidence of such correction. Additionally, the complainants moved to extend the time set at the hearing for submission of briefs. The respondents filed an objection to the complainants’ motion to reopen the hearing.

        7. The complainants’ motions described in paragraph 6, above, are hereby denied.

        8. At the hearing, the respondents first moved to dismiss the complaint against the individual member respondents. That motion is hereby denied. Additionally, the respondents moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety.

        9. Section 1-21c, G.S., mandates that, where practicable, notice be provided of each regular meeting and any special meetings to one who requests and, where applicable, pays a reasonable fee for, such service.

        10. It is found that the complainants’ letter described in paragraph 2, above, did not request notice of each regular meeting and any special meetings of the respondent commission, but rather it requested notice of particular meetings.

        11. It is further found that the respondents were not obliged by 1-21c, G.S., to provide written notice to the complainants of any particular meeting.

        12. Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-21c, G.S., by failing to provide timely notice to the complainants of the August 11, 1997, and August 25, 1997 meetings of the respondent commission.

        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.

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 11, 1998.

_________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Fairfield Resources Management, Inc.
c/o Attys. Timothy J. Lee and Leonard Fasano
Fasano & Ippolito
388 Orange Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Rock Acquisition Limited Partnership
c/o Atty. Robert Shelton
388 Orange Street #200
New Haven, CT 06511

Stanley Kurpiewski, Chairman, Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission; John Smoliga; George A. Chaber; and James A. Blake as Members, Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission; and Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission
c/o Atty. Francis Collins
Cutsumpas, Collins, Hannafin, Garamella, Jaber & Tuozzolo
148 Dear Hill Avenue
P.O. Box 440
Danbury, CT 06810

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1997-288/FD/tcg/03131998