In the Matter of a Complaint by


Alan Drouin,






Docket #FIC 2000-149

Planning and Zoning Commission,
Town of Stonington,




July 26, 2000





The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 14, 2000, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.


2.      By letter dated March 23, 2000 and filed on March 24, 2000, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by:


a.       failing to properly notice its meetings;


b.      discussing his property at a meeting without notice to him;


c.       altering approvals that had been perfected without notice;


d.      causing certain filings to occur on land records of his property as a result of unnoticed meetings;


e.       failing to notice, either prior or subsequent to, the filing of a ‘Notice’ on his land records.


The complainant requested the following relief be granted:


aa.    “the town be held liable for all legal fees required to correct damages

        from their actions;

bb.  the town be held liable for all legal fees pertaining to this and the previous action before your Commission;


cc.   the Planning and Zoning Department and their Commissioners be accountable and liable for their actions;


dd.  that all legal fee [sic] from past applications and resultant appeals be paid by this Commission;


ee.   that all meetings improperly noticed be deemed illegal and stricken from all records;


ff.      that all meetings not perfected properly be deemed illegal and stricken from all records;


gg.   that the “Notice” be deemed illegal and removed from the land records and all references to the same be removed from the all records [sic];


hh.   that all information obtained through or created by these meetings be deemed illegal [sic] obtained and removed from all records;


ii.       that damages be awarded as you may deem fit.”



3.      With respect to the allegation found in paragraph 2a, above, §1-225(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:


“ . . . the chairman or secretary of any such public agency of any political subdivision of the state shall file, not later than January thirty-first of each year, with the clerk of such subdivision the schedule of regular meetings of such public agency for the ensuing year, and no such meeting of any such public agency shall be held sooner than thirty days after such schedule has been filed . . . Notice of each special meeting of every public agency . . . shall be given not less than twenty-four hours prior to the time of such meeting by filing a notice of the time and place thereof . . . in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision of the state . . . .”


4.      It is found that on July 3, 1997, the respondent held a meeting at which it discussed and took action regarding the complainant’s application for site plan modification.


5.      It is also found that the respondent properly filed notice of the July 3, 1997 meeting with the town clerk of the Town of Stonington.


6.      It is also found, however, that the complainant was not aware that the respondent held a meeting on July 3, 1997 or that his property was to be discussed at that meeting and did not attend.


7.      The complainant contends that the respondent failed to comply with his written request for notification of its meetings.  The complainant also contends that the respondent violated his rights by not giving him notice of the meeting and the actions taken at the meeting should be declared void.  The complainant further contends that he did not become aware of the July 3, 1997 meeting and the fact that his property was discussed at that meeting until recently. 


8.      It is found, however, that the complainant’s request for notice, dated July 18, 1995, was a request for notice of any meeting that the commission will discuss or act on his property.


9.      Section 1-227, G.S., requires a “public agency . . .  [to] . . .  give notice by mail of each regular meeting and of any special meeting . . . to any person who has filed a written request for such notice” and does not require an agency to provide notice of meetings when a specific subject is to be taken up at a meeting, as the complainant has requested in this case.


10.  Section §1-227 also provides that any request for notice . . . shall be valid for one year from the date on which it is filed . . .” and the complainant’s request was well over a year old at the time of the July 3, 1997 meeting and there is no evidence in the record that the request had been renewed.


11.  Furthermore, it is found that even if this Commission were to find that the respondent’s July 3, 1997 meeting was an unnoticed meeting, the complainant became aware, in fact, of the meeting, at the latest, in December of 1999 - more than thirty days from the date of the filing of this complaint.  Under such circumstances, this Commission would lack jurisdiction over the July 3, 1997 meeting of the respondent commission, because the complaint regarding the meeting was not timely filed pursuant to §1-206, G.S., which provides in relevant part that “in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting . . . the appeal shall be filed within thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice in fact that such meeting was held.” 


12.  With respect to the allegations described in paragraph 2b through 2e, above, it is found that the complainant has not alleged a violation of the FOI Act and consequently such allegations will not be considered.



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.


2.      The Commission notes that the complainant’s request for relief as set forth in paragraph 2aa through 2dd and 2ff through 2hh of the findings, above, are beyond the Commission’s statutory authority to grant and could not have been granted even if a violation of the FOI Act had been found. 





Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 26, 2000.






Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission







Alan Drouin

c/o Atty. Richard D. Dixon

58 Huntington Street

New London, CT  06320



Planning and Zoning Commission, Town of Stonington

c/o Atty. Jeffrey Londregan

38 Huntington Street

PO Box 1351

New London, CT  06320







Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission