In the Matter of a Request
for Advisory Opinion


     Advisory Opinion   #75

Town Clerk of Bethany, Applicant





On July 12, 1989, the Commission considered and agreed to respond to the request for an advisory opinion filed by the Town Clerk of Bethany.


In her request, the applicant notes that the town inland wetlands and planning and zoning commissions have an office that is open only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. At those times, the office is staffed with the agencies' clerk.


The applicant seeks the Commission's opinion as to whether, given such limited office hours, the two subject agencies have a "regular office or place of business" for purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-19(a).


In pertinent part, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-19(a) provides:


Each such agency shall keep and maintain all public records in its custody at its regular office or place of business in an accessible place and, if there is no such office or place of business, the public records pertaining to, such agency shall be kept in the office of the clerk of the political subdivision in which such public agency is located ....


Based on the statement of facts presented, the Commission believes that the inland wetlands and planning and zoning commissions appear to have a regular office or place of business. The question becomes, however, whether the records of those agencies are kept and maintained in an "accessible place" within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-19(a).


It is the Commission's opinion that the public records of the two agencies are not kept and maintained in an accessible place within the meaning of 1-19(a) because they are available to the public only for a total of nine hours over a two day period per week. In reaching this conclusion, the Commission assumes that the town clerk's office is open regularly for a longer period each week. Therefore an accessible place for such records can be found within the municipal office structure.


In light of the foregoing, the Commission believes that in order for the agencies in question to comply with the requirements of 1-19(a) they must either extend their office hours so that they are at least coextensive with those of the town clerk's office or keep their records in the town clerk's office as provided in 1-19(a).






                                                                                            By Order of the Freedom of
                                                                                            Information Commission


                                                                                            Curtis Cofield, Chairman of
                                                                                            of the Freedom of Information

Dated: ___________________



Karen Haggett, Clerk