FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Connecticut Post Limited Partnership,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1999-012
Mayor, City of New Haven; Office of Business
Development, City of New Haven; New Haven
Development Commission, City of New Haven;
and City of New Haven,
Respondents August 25, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 26, 1999, at which time the complainant 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 1-200(a), G.S. [formerly 1-18a(a), G.S.].

        2. By letter dated November 18, 1998, the complainant, through counsel, submitted a request to the respondents for copies of the following documents:

a. any correspondence or document received from or concerning Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor or Filenes.

b. all prints, pictures, drawings, renditions, displays and the like, depicting the proposed shopping mall or any part of it;

c. all correspondence or documents sent to any local, state or federal agency concerning environmental issues;

d. the National Decision System study referred to by Mr. Brancati at the New Haven Development Commission ("NHDC") hearing on November 17, 1998;

e. the by-laws, charter or other governing document of the NHDC;

f. the "Feasibility Study" referred to by Mr. Brancati at the NHDC hearing on November 17, 1998.

g. the "Development Agreement" that Mr. Brancati paraphrased from at the NHDC hearing on November 17, 1998;

h. all correspondence with, or document sent to, or received from, any federal official concerning the Long Wharf Mall.

i. the environmental study referred to by Mr. Brancati at the NHDC hearing on November 17, 1998.

j. all documents showing New Haven’s previous opposition to any shopping development in any other city or town.

        3. By letters dated November 27 and December 8, 1998 the respondents responded to the complainant’s request by:

a. providing the complainant with copies of or access to the records requested in paragraphs 2b, and 2e;

b. reminding the complainant that it had already been provided with a copy of the record requested in paragraph 2f;

c. advising that they had no documents responsive to the records requested in paragraphs 2a, 2c, 2h or 2i, ;

d. advising that the record requested in paragraph 2d would be forwarded to the complainant as soon as possible;

e. advising that the record requested in paragraph 2g was still in draft form and would not be provided at that time; and

f. advising that they were searching for records responsive to the request in paragraph 2j.

        4. By letter dated and filed on January 7, 1999, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to comply with its records request described in paragraphs 2a, 2c, 2d, 2f, 2g, 2h, 2i, and 2j, above.

        5. Section 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part that:

[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.

        6. Section 1-212(a), G.S. [formerly 1-15(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part that:

[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.

        7. It is found that, to the extent that records exist responsive to the complainant’s request, such records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.].

        8. With respect to paragraph 2a, above, the Commission takes administrative notice of the final decisions in docket #s FIC 1998-204, Ronald J. Cohen v. Corporation Counsel, Office of the Corporation Counsel, City of New Haven; and City of New Haven and FIC 1998-206, 155 Temple Street LC v. Mayor, City of New Haven; Office of Business Development, City of New Haven; Office of the Corporation Counsel, City of New Haven; and City of New Haven (hereinafter "docket #s FIC 1998-204 and FIC 1998-206", respectively), wherein the Commission found that the respondents do not have or maintain such records.

        9. With respect to paragraph 2g, above, in docket #s FIC 1998-204 and FIC 1998-206, the Commission found that: the requested draft agreements constitute preliminary drafts; the respondents determined that the public interest in withholding such draft agreements clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure, within the meaning of 1-210(b)(1),G.S. [formerly 1-19(b)(1), G.S.]; that the draft agreements were prepared by members of staff, and are subject to revision prior to submission to or discussion among the New Haven Board of Aldermen; and consequently concluded that the requested draft agreements are permissively exempt from disclosure pursuant 1-210(b)(1) and 1-210(c)(1), G.S.

        10. It is found that the records requested in paragraph 2g, above, have not been revised since the commission decision in #FIC 1998-204 and therefore remain permissively exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(1) and 1-210(c)(1), G.S.

        11. With respect to the records requested in paragraph 2c, above, it is found that at the time of the complainant’s original request, the respondents made a good faith search for the records and found no responsive records. However, the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of a record entitled "Draft Finding of No Significant Impact - Participation in Proposed Development of Galleria at Long Wharf New Haven, Connecticut" as soon as the respondents received it.

        12. With respect to the records requested in paragraph 2d, above, it is found that the respondents do not maintain any records responsive to that request.

        13. With respect to the records requested in paragraph 2f and 2i, above, it is found that the respondents complied with the complainant’s request when they provided the record described in paragraph 11, above.

        14. With respect to the records requested in paragraph 2h, above, it is found that the initial search conducted by the respondents did not produce any records responsive to that request. Subsequently, but prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondents found two letters regarding the federal government renting space in the proposed mall for a United States post office and provided them to complainant.

        15. With respect to the records requested in paragraph 2j, above, it is found that the respondents do not maintain any records responsive to that request.

        16. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the provisions of 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.] or 1-212(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.] under the facts of this case.

        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

August 25, 1999.

 

_________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

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:

 

Connecticut Post Limited Partnership
c/o Atty. William S. Fish, Jr.
Tyler Cooper & Alcorn, LLP
185 Asylum Street
CityPlace / 35th floor
Hartford, CT 06103-3488
Mayor, City of New Haven; Office of Business Development, City of New Haven;
New Haven Development Commission, City of New Haven;and City of New Haven
c/o Atty. Thayer Baldwin
Corporation Counsel
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-012FD/mrb/08271999